Another week gone by, another crop of bands announced. This week was a big one: ten different acts have been added to the Vans Warped Tour line-up for 2013.
Band: Action Item (All Dates)
Check Out: “Last Day of Summer” from Single (Unsigned)
Similar To: Hot Chelle Rae, Owl City, Paradise Fears
My Reaction: Bergen County, New Jersey’s Action Item is looking to make a name for themselves in a scene swarming with some many pop acts. Formed in 2008, the band has been working toward bringing their electronic drenched pop to fans all over the country. And their efforts haven’t gone unnoticed, as the act will be going out on a headlining tour in February and March with fellow pop-enthusiasts Paradise Fears and Before You Exit before heading out on their excursion on Warped this summer.
Would I Recommend Seeing Them?: Action Item strikes me as a band that I’m sure is just as ambitious as every other band with their intentions of spreading their music, but when it comes to the tunes themselves, they’re about as cookie cutter as they come. The members of Action Item are not bad people…just ones that don’t seem to be as passionate as the countless others that are also pushing their pop to the world. Unfortunately, it’s as simple as that.
Band: Architects (UK)
Check Out: “Alpha Omega” from Daybreaker (Century Media)
Similar Artists: Bring Me the Horizon, August Burns Red, Parkway Drive
My Reaction: Fresh off the release of a new album Daybreaker, this UK import joins a promising representation of heavy-leaning bands. While they aren’t as heavy as Upon a Burning Body, their balance of melody and metallic-tinged aggression makes for a strong addition to the tour – even if my opinion of their newest record probably isn’t the as strong as most. That being said, their addition isn’t surprising considering the pretty much confirmed addition of Bring Me the Horizon to the festival – as well as their continued support of the new record on an international scale.
Would I Recommend Seeing Them? Daybreaker might not be the best thing they’ve put out in my eyes, but if the opportunity presents itself for me to check these guys out considering where they are from and the fact I might not get that chance again, you can be sure to find me somewhere near their set for at least part of it.
Band: The Early November (All Dates)
Check Out: “Close to You” from In Currents (Rise)
Similar To: Saves the Day, The Starting Line, Transit
My Reaction: Upon the announcement of New Jersey pop-punk act The Early November’s reunion, needless to say, I was ecstatic. Since my early teenage years, I’ve been a fan of the soft, acoustic-laden tunes that The Early November has been producing. However, now that the band is in full swing once again, it’s great to have the same feelings coming back once again. Signing on to active Warped Tour associates Rise Records, the band put out of their finest records to date, In Currents, which also doubled as one of the best albums of last year. The band’s no stranger to Warped Tour either, as this will be their fifth summer on the festival, and their first in seven years, which I’m sure will help draw in other nostalgia-hungry tour-goers as well.
Would I Recommend Seeing Them?: Absolutely. As of just a few years ago, Warped Tour has had a tradition of showcasing acts on the tour that have either recently reformed or is attempting to once again gain exposure. Last year, it was Taking Back Sunday. In 2011, it was Simple Plan. And now this year, The Early November is in an attempt to do both. Warped has always been a place that accepts older bands with open arms to play the festival, and TEN will be no exception. It is for this reason that I would recommend you check out the act some time during your day, whether you’ve already fallen in love with the group, or are prepared to.
Band: Forever the Sickest Kids (All Dates)
Check Out: “Keeps On Bringing Me Down” from Self-Titled (Universal Motown)
Similar To: Bowling for Soup, Mayday Parade, Fountains of Wayne
My Reaction: Through all of the ups and downs that Forever the Sickest Kids has had to go through over the past couple of years, everything seems to be turning around for them. Popularity came to the Dallas, Texas pop quartet back in 2008, where their debut LP Underdog Alma Mater immediately hit hard, thanks to the success of singles like “Hey Brittany” and “Whoa Oh! (Me vs Everyone)”. Soon after, the band hit up the scene hard, touring with scene favorites like All Time Low and We the Kings. However, not all has gone well for the band in their career thus far. The band has lost both their lead guitarist Marc Stewart and keyboardist Kent Garrison, and were suddenly without a label. However, soon after, Fearless Records took them under their wing and the band has a new record set for release this Spring.
Would I Recommend Seeing Them?: Fans of the poppier punk genre have been gobbling up FTSK’s music for as long as the band has been active, so all of those who plan on seeing the band are already going to check them out. As for everyone else, it’s going to be a tough one to say. Sure, Cook’s voice can seem grating at times, but the band’s music is more than infectious enough to make up for it. Not to mention, the band puts on an energetic that is sure to be a favorite of new fans.
Band: Oh, Sleeper
Check Out: “Dealers of Fame” from Children of Fire (Tooth & Nail)
Similar Artists: Inhale Exhale, Norma Jean, For Today
My Reaction: While there was certainly some buzz for the release of the band’s latest disc Children of Fire, Oh, Sleeper is a band I’ve had a hard time getting behind. It isn’t that they aren’t good at what they do, but it just doesn’t seem to stick in the long-term playability of things. Fans of the above bands are sure to find something to dig about these guys, but like most post-hardcore these days you either get it or you don’t.
Would I Recommend Seeing Them? My experience with this band wasn’t the most appealing, as the one time I caught them live was not the most inviting of circumstances at the time. But while I might be wiling to give them another chance, this isn’t a band with flashy hooks or superb songwriting that might be worth looking into if you have some free time in your day, but not something worth missing a band that is much more satisfying in the process.
Band: Tonight Alive (All Dates)
Check Out: Breaking & Entering from What Are You So Scared Of? (Fearless)
Similar To: Paramore, Automatic Loveletter, Every Avenue
My Reaction: A lot has changed for Tonight Alive in the past year or so…especially in the United States. After the Sydney, Australia pop-punk act was signed to Fearless Records just last year, the band’s popularity has suddenly exploded. Before the signing, the band was only really reaching out to their home continent, but now that the band has truly made an impression on the Warped Tour community (not to mention spending last summer on the Kevin Says stage), the band is truly in the full swing of really expanding their outreach toward all Warped-goers.
Would I Recommend Seeing Them?: Oh yeah. Tonight Alive has done an excellent job so far of making all the right moves in their somewhat short existence as a band. In their five years together, the band has toured with 3OH!3, Simple Plan, The Wonder Years and Pierce the Veil. Not bad for a simple pop-punk band with just over 100,000 fans on Facebook. Not to mention, now that the band really knows the ropes behind how Warped Tour functions as a festival, there’s little doubt in my mind that a second summer will help the band significantly in the states. Just as long as the band keeps doing what they do best.
Band: Upon a Burning Body
Check Out: “Predators” from Red. White. Green. (Sumerian)
Similar Artists: Whitechapel, Chelsea Grin, Job for a Cowboy
My Reaction: A band that I’ve skipped over at festivals or shows before, Upon a Burning Body is not exactly a standout deathcore act. That being said, the fact they are included on the bill speaks to the variety Warped is looking to bring people this year. That being said, this certainly isn’t the big name heavy act like The Black Dahlia Murder – which even in and of itself isn’t huge – but a decent enough support group in the realm of such acts they they shouldn’t immediately be passed on if you are a fan of heavy music.
Would I Recommend Seeing Them? Deathcore is not a genre for everyone, whether ir be the vocals, the sheer abrasion or the arguably mind-numbing chugging that seems to be like a ball-and-chain to the genre. That being said, UABB’s set probably won’t be one to change your mind about that, but if you happen to be a fan of heavier things, hitting up their set certainly won’t put a damper on your day.
Band: VersaEmerge (All Dates)
Check Out: “Fixed At Zero” from Fixed at Zero (Fueled By Ramen)
Similar To: Hey Monday, Meg & Dia, We Are The In Crowd
My Reaction: Port St. Lucie, Florida emo pop duo VersaEmerge have gone through their share of struggles over the past few years. Though the band started out strong (getting signed to prominent label Fueled by Ramen never hurts), there have been quite a few pitfalls in the band’s short career. They’ve lost numerous members, disputed with other acts, and have fallen from the graces of mass popularity. For a while, I just naturally assumed that the band would just eventually disband, and vocalist Kusterbeck would take a stab at a solo career. However, the band is still attempting to make up for lost ground, and will be playing the entire Warped Tour this summer to go along with their upcoming record.
Would I Recommend Seeing Them?: Sure, all signs point to the band’s slot as their comeback of sorts, but for me, there really isn’t a lot to come back to. Honestly, I’ve never really understood the hype around VersaEmerge. The band has not once really caught my attention as a band that really stands out over other acts in their scene. Kusterbeck has got a good set of pipes, but the music they make doesn’t do much for me, compared to stellar female-fronted pop bands like Paramore and this week’s Tonight Alive. For this reason, I’d pass on Versa and check out somebody else in your day.
South Italy dubstep artist Shy Kidx was also announced this week as well, but unfortunately, due to the lack of availability of his music, Mind Equals Blown was unable to give you our thoughts on the artist.