This year, Mind Equals Blown continues to bring you our thoughts on this year’s installments of the Vans Warped Tour band announcements. Once a week on Thursdays during Warped Roadies on Fuse, the tour announces five bands that will be playing the festival. Last Thursday, the 6th, was the first day the announcements, and here are our thoughts on the first week.
Band: Big Chocolate (All Dates)
Check Out: “Look Lovely” from Red Headed Locc (Flab Slab)
Similar To: Skrillex, Nero, Zenji
My Reaction: If you were to tell me in the formative years of Warped Tour that dubstep would become one of the more up-and coming genres for the festival, I would have been honestly surprised. Believe it though, readers, as Big Chocolate will be hyping crowds all summer on his second full-length Warped Tour. After spending his summer on the tour in 2011 on the Skullcandy Stage with other popular acts like Yelawolf, Foxy Shazam and Blood on the Dance Floor, the Nevada-grown dubstep producer is back to make Warped Tour a much more electronic-friendly environment. Chocolate isn’t a stranger to the scene, however, as he’s worked closely with Asking Alexandria and Breathe Carolina, and been on tour with Dance Gavin Dance and Iwrestledabearonce. Needless to say, with artists like Big Chocolate on the tour, it seems like the start of friendly relationship between Warped Tour and the dubstep genre.
Would I Recommend Seeing Him?: Though I wasn’t able to catch Big Chocolate’s set at Warped Tour in 2011 (his set conflicted with The Wonder Years’), I was impressed by his overall reception by festival goers. His sets were usually packed, and consistently had an energetic crowd, which is surprising, as Big Chocolate’s presence on the tour was a bit of gamble. However, because of how successful his run was in 2011, I’m sure he won’t have a problem bringing the energy to crowds in 2013. Even though I have mixed feelings about the artist, and the genre of dubstep in general, I’d have no recommending Big Chocolate to anyone looking to drop the bass this summer.
Band: Go Radio (All Dates)
Check Out: “I Won’t Lie” from Close the Distance (Fearless)
Similar To: Mayday Parade, The Maine, Counting Crows
My Reaction: In a similar situation to Big Chocolate, Tallahassee, Florida’s own Go Radio will be returning to Warped Tour after a very successful slot in 2011. After leaving Mayday Parade in 2007, vocalist/rhythm guitarist Jason Lancaster set his sights on a new project. Enter Go Radio, an alternative/acoustic-based quartet that emphasizes heart over anything else. Now the band are showcasing their latest Fearless release Close the Distance, a widely- praised sophomore LP for the band. Given this increasing appreciation for the group, Go Radio should have zero trouble promoting Close the Distance and bringing the feels to Warped in 2013.
Would I Recommend Seeing Them?: Yes. In 2011, Go Radio’s set was worth applauding for numerous reasons. Lancaster and company have an impeccable way of creating an extremely poignant live environment thanks to a great, atmospheric sound and a heavy amount of crowd participation. Even though Close the Distance didn’t stay with me nearly as much as I would’ve hoped, the band’s latest release is enjoyable and inviting, which should be more than enough to win fans over for a second round of Warped Tour. You’ve got my vote, guys.
Band: I See Stars (All Dates)
Check Out: “Filth Friends Unite” from Digital Renegade (Sumerian)
Similar To: Asking Alexandria, A Skylit Drive, Confide
My Reaction: The last few months have been interesting for Warren, Michigan technocore sextet I See Stars. Before their recent drug arrests and feuds with Ronnie Radke, the band was doing fairly well. Currently in support of their third release Digital Renegade, currently out on Sumerian Records, the band has been gaining fans left and right, making all of the right moves, touring with the right bands and gaining the right types of exposure. Despite these recent setbacks for the band, it’s easy to see that their fanbase has been extremely supportive throughout this entire process, which will most likely gain them massive crowds for their second summer on Warped Tour.
Would I Recommend Seeing Them?: I am not the right person to ask this question. Though I am a tad biased because I See Stars is from my home state, I still am not the biggest fan of the metalcore/technocore/[insert word here]core genre. However, I will give credit where credit is due. I See Stars has been progressively getting better live, especially lead singer Devin Oliver, their latest release Digital Renegade is easily their record to date, and the way they handled the whole Radke-gate conflict was very admirable on their part. Even given these credits, I probably still won’t see the band, but I would recommend anyone who’s a fan of the genre to give them a shot.
Band: Like Moths to Flames (All Dates)
Check Out: “You Won’t Be Missed” from When We Don’t Exist (Rise)
Similar To: Attack Attack, Memphis May Fire, Secrets
My Reaction: In what I’m sure will be the first of many recent Risecore acts to be playing Warped Tour this summer, Dayton, Ohio’s Like Moths to Flames are set to bring the fury with their own brand of pummeling metalcore. Fresh off their freshman LP When We Don’t Exist, the band has been progressively getting better live and gaining fans by the hundreds of thousands. Thanks to a head start from lead singer Chris Roetter’s former presence in acts such as Agraceful and Emarosa, the band has been able to reach out to fans and quickly gain support through word of mouth. When looking at all of the progress that Like Moths to Flames has made in such a short amount of time, it’d be difficult not to find a reason to see the band, especially if you’re into metalcore and looking for an up-and-coming act to see next year.
Would I Recommend Seeing Them?: Once again, I’m not your go-to guy on this question. Sure, I’d be willing to take a look into Like Moths to Flames’ latest release and tell you that it’s really nothing special, but that wouldn’t be fair to fans of the genre, or the band itself. For this reason, it’s another reason to check out Like Moths to Flames for yourself and defer to your own judgment. I guarantee on just one listen that you’ll either be hooked, be content or just be disgusted. Either way, the act gains a little more exposure. Hey, what do you have to lose?
Band: The Story So Far (All Dates)
Check Out: “High Regard” from Under Soil & Dirt (Pure Noise)
Similar To: Taking Back Sunday, New Found Glory, Hit the Lights
My Reaction: In what could potentially be seen as the largest renaissance of the pop-punk genre since the early 2000’s, when acts like New Found Glory, The Starting Line and Saves the Day were making waves, The Story So Far are helping to lead the pack of this recent explosion. Hailing from Walnut Creek, California, the quintet has been making headlines all across the world with their passionate display of what formally was a less prominent genre. Besides The Wonder Years and Man Overboard, The Story So Far is easily the most up-and-coming band in their scene, and it’s my personal opinion that a summer on Warped Tour will only further establish that fact.
Would I Recommend Seeing Them?: Now, this is a band I can truly get behind. As a kid that grew up in the midst of great pop-punk acts like Blink 182, Sum 41 and New Found Glory, it’s great to see such a huge return for bands like this. Sure, the band has been panned for a somewhat boring stage presence, but honestly, it’s worth going to their set alone just to see the diehard fans of the band go ape-shit crazy. And yeah, the band probably would have been right at home last year in a line-up that was so heavy on pop-punk. But, hey, better late than never, right? That being said, I’d highly recommend you include The Story So Far in your schedule for next summer.
Band: Woe, Is Me (All Dates)
Check Out: “Vengeance” from Number[s] Reissue (Rise)
Similar To: We Came as Romans, Of Mice & Men, The Word Alive
My Reaction: Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past two years and keep up with the changing tides of the metalcore scene, you’ll know more than your share of information about Atlanta, Georgia’s own metalcore septet. After lead singer Tyler Carter left the group immediately after their run on Warped Tour in 2011, he was replaced by Hance Alligood in an effort to harness the silky smooth vocal tones that Carter possessed. Not only that, but after another falling out, Michael Bohn and the Ferris brothers left the band, with the intention of starting a new act, later named Issues. However, now that the band has an established (former That’s Outrageous vocalist Doriano Magliano is now the unclean vocalist), it seems that a summer of Warped could do the band wonders for their somewhat tarnished image.
Would I Recommend Seeing Them?: At this time last year, I had extremely high hopes for Woe, Is Me. Though it took quite a bit of warming up to, I eventually started to enjoy the technical aspect of their recorded music, as well as how fine-tuned the production was on Number[s]. However, after so many line-up changes and harsh words exchanged, frankly, it’s tough to take this band seriously anymore. Their latest record, Genesi[s], was a collosal disappointment (see our writer Steve’s review for further details) and it seems that all of the raw talent that made Woe, Is Me so accessible in the first place packed up and headed to form Issues. It’s with a heavy heart that I would dissuade you from seeing Woe, Is Me is me this summer and check out one of the other dozens of metalcore acts this summer.