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Music: A Warped perspective

Annual tour provides a great music sampler

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The Vans Warped Tour has been going strong since 1995. It provides an easy way to check out a huge number of bands – they play for up to 30 minutes each on a number of stages. While most bands fall into a screamo category, there are plenty of outsiders that tag along. Here's a quick rundown of a handful that will be performing in Charlotte:

AGAINST ME! -- The band's major-label debut came out last summer and quickly won over a large number of fans. (It was on my list of Top 10 albums of 2007.) They recently toured with the Foo Fighters and are sure to have a big career ahead of them.

ANGELS AND AIRWAVES -- If you wonder what happened to Tom DeLonge of Blink-182, here's your answer. The guitarist/vocalist has been touring heavily with this band since their debut album was released two years ago. Their upcoming sophomore release will be titled I-Empire.

ALESANA -- This post-hardcore band is based out of Raleigh. Their latest album is scheduled for a June release. Chances are, there'll be plenty of screaming.

THE BRONX -- The punk band from Southern California (not New York) blend hardcore punk with modern undertones. They're heavily influenced by bands like Black Flag and Bad Brains.

COBRA STARSHIP -- The alt-rockers recently finished a tour with Metro Station that sold out just about everywhere it went -- including Tremont Music Hall. They're another one of those bands that's got plenty of buzz swirling around them.

FAMILY FORCE 5 -- The Atlanta crunk rockers are an entertaining act that take '80s influences, Christian beliefs, humor and rock and mix them up in their own way. They were on the tour last year and look to have just as much fun this time around.

GYM CLASS HEROES -- They had a huge year in 2007 with the continued success of 2006's As Cruel as School Children. The follow-up is due this summer, and they're sure to be playing a few from it on this tour.

NORMA JEAN -- I've always wondered if this Christian metalcore band was named as an anti-Marilyn Manson, but it doesn't matter. They're in the process of recording their third album.

THE PINK SPIDERS -- The pop rockers have been picking up a bit of buzz since the release of their third studio album, Sweat it Out. In March, the band's tour bus burned to the ground with everything on it. They missed a few shows soon after that, but have regrouped.

REEL BIG FISH -- This band hit it big with "Sell Out" back in 1997. The only original member left in the band is singer Aaron Barrett, but it's not a nostalgia tour. The members released an album last year.


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