The lineup for the 2016 run of Van’s Warped Tour was unveiled last week, and it won’t be long before bloggers, vloggers, and podcasters from all corners of the country are submitting their press credentials in hopes of covering the world’s largest traveling music festival. There are more than 50 bands on the lineup this year, and among them are some of the biggest name the alternative scene has ever known, including Good Charlotte and Sum 41. Both those bands are great, and we definitely think you should catch their sets, but if you want to make your coverage of Warped Tour unique we urge you to find time for the smaller bands on the bill as well.
Warped’s main stage acts will most likely bring in clicks for your website at a faster rate than articles pertaining to the younger acts, but in our experience the best coverage often arises from time spent with those still trying to find their footing in the music business. These are the same bands who wake up early every day to work the lines before gates open, and then spend every waking minute possible on the festival grounds in hopes of meeting or making fans. Those individuals and groups are the ones making the most of their Warped Tour experience, and they’re likely to see the biggest return for time spent as a result. In fact, many of the tour’s biggest bands today were once artists hustling CDs outside the gates, and that will no doubt continue to be true with the next round of alternative headliners.
By stepping away from the obvious draws and seeking something worthwhile in other corners of Warped Tour you open yourself, not to mention your audience, up to a world of possibilities that could lead in a million different directions. Perhaps you discover the unknown band who will headline the festival two years later, or maybe you meet an artist whose got a story that you know your readers will want to hear. The point is, you will find something to cover that is different than what will be covered by everyone else at the festival, and as a result you will be able to forge relationships and connections with people who may be able to help you down the line. The networking opportunities at Warped for aspiring professionals is one of the more underutilized points of entry to the music business with easy access in the industry, which is precisely why we’re here telling you to take advantage of it.
The following bands are the 10 act we think you should consider covering, but it’s really just an effort to get you to consider something different with your tour coverage. Some names may seem bigger than others, but we believe they all offer unique perspectives on music, the industry, and the state of the alternative community as a whole that have gone largely untold up to this point. Like their peers before them, these acts are in need of strong journalism and word of mouth to make it over that last horizon of viral/buzzworthy popularity so that they might be able to make music their full time careers. You have the power to help change their lives, and we’re asking you to consider doing so following your time at Warped Tour this year:
Former Inside Music guests Avion Roe are no strangers to appearing on Van’s Warped Tour, but this will be the group’s first major outing since signing with Epitaph Records in the fall of 2015. The band has already completed their debut album, but it’s not the end of March and we have yet to know anything about the record or when it will be available. The band’s music should speak for itself, but as longtime supporters we can attest to the fact there are few bands on Warped that will be able to match the energy this group brings to the stage. We predict this summer will be the one that establishes Avion Roe as the genre heavyweights they appear destined to become, and it’s a story you won’t want to miss.
We caught Sykes during an unofficial SXSW showcase our friends at The Catalyst Publicity Group hosted earlier this year and were immediately taken by their unique twist on classic pop rock tropes. The band has already developed a fervent following outside the US, so it’s not a leap to assume their stint on Warped will make them equally popular here in the states. Just try and experience the song above without wanting to hear everything the band has written. We dare you.
Mother Feather is a band that should need no explanation. The name alone is enough to spark your curiosity, and the visuals that help promote the group only amplify that interest. When you do hear their music, be prepared to discover an infectious combination of classic rock sensibilities and modern rock attitude that just won’t quit. In fact, we had to stop writing this paragraph several times while the band’s music was on because the urge to play air guitar and dance around the office with our cats was too strong to resist.
Prof’s 2015 video for his single “Bar Breaker” was one of the wildest clips to his the internet last year, and we have a feeling his live show will be just as crazy. Warped Tour rarely selects more than a handful of rappers for the festival, and this year is no exception to that rule, but the addition of Prof shows Warped still knows big potential when they see it. Of all the bands on this year’s lineup, Prof is among those least known by the tour’s core demographic, but we’d wager that will change in no time at all.
At first glance, Coldrain feels like an odd addition to the Hopeless Records roster. The label has housed their fair share of modern rock acts over time, but in recent years Hopeless has been viewed by many as a pop punk brand. What you realize when listening to Coldrain is that Hopeless ˙has never been a label focused on one particular, but rather a feeling only felt when a certain kind of music is played. It’s like a sudden rush of blood to the brain ignited by music that offer deep and true expression of the human experience, and that is exactly the kind of art this group creates.
Against The Current
If there is such a thing as being a ‘sure thing’ in music, Against The Current would be it. For the better part of two years now this band has been skyrocketing through the pop and rock underground, carried by the powerful talent of singer Chrissy Costanza. Some will compare her to Paramore’s Hayley Williams, but if that happens it’s only because people don’t know who else to compare someone to when speaking about female vocalists in the alternative world. The truth is Costanza, much like her bandmates, is a true original.
Palaye Royale may be the best kept secret in Sumerian Records history. Their sound is a cross-section of radio ready rock and punk aesthetics that will have you bobbing your head in no time at all, and their live show has been the talk of the underground for what feels like forever. Warped has more straightforward rock bands than at any other point in recent memory on the lineup this year, and that bodes well for Palaye Royale’s ability to win over new listeners. If you haven’t heard the group’s label debut, “Don’t Feel Quite Right,” we urge you to pick it up as soon as you are able.
Bad Seed Rising
The youngest band signed to Roadrunner Records, Bad Seed Rising is a force unlike anything the rock scene has experienced in a decade or more. Where many young bands tend to write about their personal experiences and the struggles of growing up, Bad Seed Rising have always had their eyes on the bigger picture. This bands writes song that can and hopefully will one day change the world. Everything they do is done for the purpose of not only furthering their own careers, but mankind as a whole, and they’re only getting better with age.
We have a feeling The Heirs could to Warped Tour 2016 what PVRIS has been in years past. Just edgy enough to be considered alternative, yet catchy enough to grab the attention of pop tastemakers, The Heirs offer an infectious mix of ideas that is both fun and captivating. Most people don’t consider Warped Tour to be a place where people go to dance is if they were in a club or in their room alone, but The Heirs might change that when songs like “Ecliptic” are played.
We’ve written at length about ROAM, and with each new mention the group seems to be inching closer to pop punk domination. Warped Tour could be the tipping point, and even if it’s not the pits for this band’s sets will be ones you do not want to miss. If you’re looking for a group that is connecting with the next generation of Warped Tour regulars, this band is the answer.