Wednesday, June 29, 2011

2011 Warped Tour Preview

The Vans Warped Tour kicked off its 17th summer on the road last Friday in Dallas, Texas. And with that sort of longevity comes change. Let's face it, this isn't the same tour that started almost two decades ago.

For many, Warped Tour has represented the punk mentality. A day at Warped is a sweat-filled, filthy free-for-all wrapped around a music scene that celebrates outcasts. But in recent years, the tour has suffered a backlash of harsh words and criticism from the now grown-up teens that were there when the tour began.

Bands like Bad Religion, blink-182, NOFX, Rancid and MXPX were once the punk leading acts that drove the tour, and essentially gave it its reputation for mohawks and studded belts. Replace that with some of the more recent acts on Warped - Katy Perry, 3OH!3, Blood On The Dance Floor, ext. - and you're bound to witness a changing demographic of fans attending the shows.

But does this wave of electro-pop-rap-punk mean that Warped has officially seen better days? Not necessarily. While yes, the majority of fans attending Warped just to see these new school acts are in fact younger than the tour itself, it'd be crazy to write Warped off as outdated or completely irrelevant to the scene today.

Lets' take a look at the high points of this summer's tour. All you pop-punk lifers should be stoked on Set Your Goals, The Wonder Years and A Day To Remember, who are all playing the entire tour. These bands are offering fresh, new music without losing sight of where they came from. No frills, no makeup, no computerized tracks playing over the live set - just a few guitars, a bass and a drum kit. Keeping it simple is back in style.

For those of you that need something heavier, Warped has got you covered. The Devil Wears Prada will be there from day one offering up a mosh-worthy set on the Main Stage. Add to that the Craig Owens fronted supergroup D.R.U.G.S. and the Pennsylvania outfit, August Burns Red, and you hardcore kids have got a full day ahead of you.

No Warped Tour would be complete without some of its originators - those bands there from the very beginning that seem to show up on the bill year after year. Less Than Jake certainly fill that spot in 2011. But with some other old school acts thrown in the mix like Against Me! and the Street Dogs, even the most jaded ex-Warped attendee might consider showing face this summer.

And let's not forget some of the newer acts out there this year that are worth your time. Terrible Things are the can't-miss act of the summer. Bringing a straight up rock 'n' roll element to the tour, you'll want to make sure these guys are on your Warped itinerary. Some other fresh faces to see include Falling In Reverse, who are ready to take back the metal core contingent of the tour.

In terms of the actual music that makes up the festival, the 2011 Warped Tour stands as eclectic as ever. Undoubtedly, organizers will aim for the youth demographic. It seems the new wave acts of recent years are here to stay. After all, they do bring in an awful lot of money. But Warped hasn't lost sight of its past. This year again is packed with notable acts from the punk and alternative scenes.

Fact of the matter is that no one is ever going to be crazy about the entire lineup. There are 114 bands this year alone that will be making appearances on Warped. With those kinds of numbers it will be easy to avoid those acts you want nothing to do with. So if you're thinking about going to Warped Tour this summer, don't get caught up hating those bands you don't want to see. Concentrate on spending your day seeing those acts that will make Warped as fun this year as it was the first time you went.

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