Dear and the Headlights aren't the only Phoenix band playing the 15th anniversary edition of the Vans Warped Tour, which hits Phoenix's Cricket Pavilion on Tuesday, June 30. The Maine and Scary Kids Scaring Kids also will be on long stretches of the tour. Here are some other Phoenix-area acts joining in the tour for at least one date, according to warpedtour.com:
Anarbor: Signed last year while their members were still in high school, Anarbor is sort of The Maine Lite. The Phoenix band boils down guitar-based pop rock to its plucky core, making music that'd sound nearly as good on synthesizers as on a six-string. The singer, who answers to Slade, has the sort of joyously even-tempered vocals you need to make the type of songs played in the background on episodes of MTV's Room Raiders.
Authority Zero: Stalwart Mesa punk act Authority Zero has to be one of the busiest bands in town, between side projects and a tour schedule that'd shame Willie Nelson. Musically, they're about as close as you'll find on this year's tour to a trad-punk band from the Warped Tour's early days. This year's tour is heavily hair-sprayed and maybe even a little eyelinered.
Kinch: Kinch is one of our favorite local bands for good reason. Their piano-driven and occasionally fuzzy-guitar-infused take on Britpop and contemporary indie rock is chock-full of ear-grabbing melodies. Though they're going by "kinch" on the official Warped Tour bill (an effort to seem hipper to the kids?), we're confident they won't use too much guy-liner in their efforts to mimic the look that today's teens love.
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Peachcake: Though you may not realize it, this confetti- and candy-tossing Phoenix dance-pop band has drastically expanded its fan base, even taking its peace-and-love message overseas this summer. We're sure their dynamic live show (and the candy) will be as big a hit in Norway as it is here, provided they toss out a few melkesjokolades with their standard American jellybeans to make sure the Nordies get the idea.
Scary Kids Scaring Kids: This six-piece melodic punk act from Gilbert is oft labeled "post-hardcore," but we think their pairing of fantastic riffs with serviceable vocals is reminiscent of early Metallica. Certainly, thrash is back — but not with kids this age. So they tend to claim more fashionable influences, and when the super-catchy refrain of "Snake Devil" hits, we have to admit they do owe a debt to bands like At The Drive-In and Blink-182.
The Maine: Ah, The Maine. So young, so MySpace famous. We're not sure this five-piece bunch could grow beards if they wanted to but, luckily, they're from Phoenix, not Portland, so their clean-cut looks and boyish pop songs are appreciated. Two-dozen Warped Tour dates should only increase the standing of this band, which writes the sort of piano-and-acoustic-guitar-based love songs Plain White T's rode to the big time — the sort of songs only a true punk curmudgeon could hate. Yes, they'll make the UK Subs (an '80s punk band who somehow found their way onto this year's tour) look a little sickly and pathetic on the California dates the bands play together. But that's the vibe this year's Warped Tour is apparently going for.
The Word Alive: Out of Peoria, The Word Alive does more than most bands to show "melodic" and "hardcore" are compatible. Sure, the growling is mostly for show, as the super-glossy refrains quickly push it aside, but this long-haired six-piece makes sure to throw enough pummeling percussion and trudging riffs to avoid ending up categorized with The Maine and Phoenix's other pop-punksters. Singer Telle Smith looks like a star, and the band's rough edges don't really seem to preclude some sort of major fame, given the way younger audiences are willing to embrace even death-metal grunts provided they're soon followed by catchy choruses.