It's become an annual rite of passage. There are few people I know who didn't, at some point in their lives, go to the Vans Warped Tour. It's a summer ritual that includes some of the best, and sometimes worst, of the music scene. Over the years, I've seen a variety of future big names such as Kid Rock (1998) and Katy Perry (2008) to the tour regulars like Bad Religion (1997, 2007, 2009). Every year, dozens of bands roll into town giving teens and above a long, hot day full of the music they love. Here's a quick rundown of who you may, or may not, be familiar with already:
Against Me! — The punk band has become a regular on the festival and touring circuit, hitting the road in support of its latest album, White Crosses, this time around. They're Warped Tour vets who bring a frantic energy to the crowd with plenty of melodic tunes and other ones just to get you fired up.
Black Veil Brides — Inspired by the glam look of bands such as Kiss and Motley Crue, the Hollywood band is probably known more for its physical appearance than its post-hardcore, scream-fueled brand of rock.
The Devil Wears Prada — Don't head out for this band's performance expecting to see something Anne Hathaway might enjoy. The band's brand of metal is brutal, and though they named their band after the book thinking it was about anti-materialism, they stuck with it anyway. Everyone makes mistakes, right?
Gym Class Heroes — The Gym Class Heroes hit it big on the radio a few years back with their song "Cupid's Chokehold." Singer Travie McCoy had a solo hit last year with "Billionaire," but now the boys are back together and hope to release The Papercut Chronicles II sometime this year.
Larry and His Flask — Don't think there's something for everyone at Warped Tour? Check out this energetic bluegrass band that combines some folk and punk elements into its music.
Middle Class Rut — The alt-rock duo is touring in support of its debut album, No Name No Color. The band's single, "New Low," has garnered plenty of attention on radio.
Peelander-Z — The "Japanese Action Comic Punk" band members are simply known by their colors, Yellow, Red, Green and Pink and play a brand of punk music that's short on lyrical content, though quick and entertaining. The band often involves audience participation in its act, along with acts and costuming.
Pepper — I'll never forget a few years ago when Pepper was on stage and proceeded to make fun of the band playing on the stage across the parking lot. The Hawaii-based trio plays a brand of reggae fused with rock that is closest related to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, and a style that's not often found on Warped Tour.
Shira — Often compared to Madonna, Gwen Stefani and/or Pink, the synth-heavy, dance performance style of this singer, who often goes by Shira Girl, could be hinting to the next break-out star from Warped Tour. It's pop music that's got some punk influences and simplistic lyrics — just what the pop world needs, right?
Sick of Sarah — The punk-infused girl rock band from Minnesota will be at The Milestone later this year, but you can catch them on Warped Tour first. Who says all- girl bands can't hang with the boys?
Terrible Things — The pop-rock supergroup is made up of Fred Mascherino, former guitarist of Taking Back Sunday, Josh Eppard, former drummer for Coheed and Cambria, and bass player and former member of the band Silvertide, Brian Weaver. The band's self-titled debut was released last year.
We Came As Romans — Ah, Warped Tour ... what would you be without your screamo, post-hardcore bands? Bands like this one are the staple of the festival these days, keeping melodic verses intact and exchanging a sung chorus for one that's filled with angst and screaming. So many of them sound alike, that we thought we'd just pick one randomly to sum it up under.
Yelawolf — The Alabama rapper was signed to Eminem's record label and is often looked at as a prodigy of the star. His first album on the label is due in September.