By Christian Schaeffer
By Gabriel San Roman
By Chaz Kangas
By Allison Babka
By Bob McMahon
By Allison Babka
By Tef Poe
By Mabel Suen
The traveling punk-rock circus known as the Vans Warped Tour is a sensory overload of loud bands, loud people and loudly colored merchandise tents. It also presents a mathematical anomaly: Even the most die-hard music enthusiast couldn't possibly watch all 63-plus bands in the hours allotted to the outdoor fest. But with the power of MySpace and first impressions, the RFT listened to at least one song by nearly every single band playing the St. Louis date of Warped Tour and compiled the following guide to the all-day event.
After Midnight Project: Radio-friendly modern rock that plays out like nü-metal in a major key.
Aiden: Dark emo with lyrics about wasting away and hanging out in gutters, all further dramatized by pianos and gang vocals.
The A.K.A.'s: Organ-driven garage rock reminiscent of early (International) Noise Conspiracy. Music by which to ride Vespas.
Alexisonfire: Gruff-voiced verses and sung-but-not-nasal choruses. Feels like a post-hardcore version of Sponge's track ("Plowed") on the Empire Records soundtrack.
The Architects: Anthemic garage rock from members of defunct mod-ska outfit the Gadjits.
Attack! Attack!: Metalcore verses meet pop-punk choruses. Live, I wonder if these guys use auto-tune or have somebody editing and quantizing drums, because they rely so heavily on those Pro Tools tricks on its recordings.
Authority Zero: Long-running melodic punk band with hardcore, reggae and surf influences.
Big D and the Kids Table: These are the weird 30-year-old dudes who show up unannounced at the high school kegger and trash the place. Musically solid third-wave party ska that's defiantly immature.
Bouncing Souls: The kings of fist-pumping, mid-tempo, punk-rock anthems that bring out the drunken soccer hooligan inside all of us.
Breathe Carolina: Wussy electro-pop with nasal vocals, as if the Postal Service received estrogen shots or OneRepublic had to perform with its singer's nose plugged. These guys will probably get drowned out by the metal band one stage over.
brokeNCYDE: Femme Fatality meets Lil Jon. This band only exists to make people like me grudgingly use the phrase "emo crunk."
Conditions: Emo with hardcore speed, pop polish and melodramatic lyrics à la Saves the Day.
The Devil Wears Prada: Metalcore with Southern rock riffs in the vein of Every Time I Die. Alternates between Morse code chugga-chuggas and melodic punk — sort of like Attack! Attack!, but performed by human beings.
Dirty Heads: Reggae-influenced hippie-punks who really, really like Sublime.
Echo Movement: Reggae-influenced hippie-punk band that really, really likes Sublime and gets bonus points for the song title "I Think God Smokes Weed."
Forever the Sickest Kids: Keyboard-heavy, pretty-boy emo-pop.
Gallows: Extremely British punk rock. Sex Pistols comparisons are inevitable, but the band sounds more like an angrier version of Bouncing Souls.
Hit the Lights: See Every Avenue.
I Set My Friends On Fire: Ironically schizophrenic band that pivots between A Day To Remember's breakdowns, Breathe Carolina's electro verses and the Blood Brothers' mathy spazz-outs.
In This Moment: Female-fronted rock band that claims to be metal but sounds like Evanescence.
Inward Eye: Garage-influenced political punk that's like a better-executed version of Green Day's newest album.
Ivoryline: Woe-is-me mid-tempo emo rock with big power chords and the occasional dance beat.
Less Than Jake: Ska-band-turned-punk band with horns-turned-punk band without horns-turned-alternative-rock band. Currently a punk band again that may or may not have horns.
Longway: Southern California skate punk with rockabilly fascinations.
Madina Lake: See Ivoryline.
The Maine: This band follows the same formula as Madina Lake and Ivoryline, but has hints of All Time Low's overproduction.