Friday, March 2, 2018

VANS WARPED TOUR 2018: The 10 Tastiest Bands Spicing Up the Final Hurrah!

The 10 Tastiest Bands Spicing
Up the Final Hurrah!

It's a brutal, ear-splitting saga, decades
in the making. And this summer, the
annual sweat-soaked cavalcade comes
to a crashing conclusion — sorta. "This
is it, kids" — so, sit down, shut up, strap
in, hang on and plan to be pulverized.
Here comes Vans Warped Tour 2018
— the final hurrah!

"It IS the longest continuing traveling festival in North American history," declared Kevin Lyman, the founder and face of the Vans Warped Tour, during a recent interview. Since 1995, Lyman's mammoth annual cross-country excursion has been defining modern-day youth culture. And in the process, this once underground outing has become an iconic, household brand.

"We flew under the radar. It was a DYI tour, very much.
It hasn't changed a whole lot. It's just known now."
-Kevin Lyman
(Vans Warped Tour founder)

As a kid from the old school punk scene of the late '70s and early '80s, I first discovered the fledgling musical circus during the mid '90s — taking in an eclectic rock collective — exciting upstarts, including 311, Pennywise, Reel Big Fish, Royal Crown Revue and MxPx. As a little old man, grasping on to my glory days in the new millennium, I continued attending the annual summer extravaganza — discovering a crop of such new up-and-comers as Icon for Hire, Jule Vera, Koo Koo Kanga Roo, We the Kings, Bad Cop / Bad Cop, Alestorm, Barb Wire Dolls, New Years Day and the Fantastic Plastics. Yes, at the age of 55, I still soak up the sonic energy of Vans Warped Tour like a thirsty sponge. But, as they say, "All good things must come to and an end."

The complete Vans Warped Tour
band lineup, as of March 1, 2018.
Worded carefully, the upcoming Vans Warped Tour is being touted as "The Final Full Cross-Country Tour" — indicating that the end of the festival, as fans have come to it, is imminent — while leaving the door cracked open for future smaller scale options.

For me, Vans Warped Tour always has been about much more than its bounty of boisterous bands and selected celebrated sponsors. It's about connecting with people — leaning in, and loving on potentially troubled young people who feel compelled to sport T-shirts adorned with such wacky slogans as "Satan Is My Spirit Animal" and "Fuck Your Religion." But, while I reflect on what Vans Warped Tour has meant to me in the past, and ponder what it might look like in the future, I want to also point to the present — to the bands that I'm most pumped about seeing this summer. So, let's take a peek at my "10 Tastiest Bands" of 2018. BTW, I believe Kevin Lyman and his team have assembled a stellar 2018 lineup. And this list reflects only a few of my personal favorites. Spoiler alert — I tend to lean towards music bands that play songs.


Known for the irresistible 2004 smash,
"1985," this Texas-based troupe has been
on the scene since the mid '90s. Their
appearance on the 2017 Warped Tour
was a festival highlight. And while they
didn't write "Stacy's Mom," they just
might include their spot-on remake of
the infectious 2003 Fountains of Wayne
hit once again in their 2018 set list.

7/6-7/16, 7/18-7/21


I've seen Issues perform live on a few
previous occasions. What impresses
me most is the group's high-energy
and ability to cram so many musical
entrees onto one stylistic serving cart.



Infectious ear worms, all day long 
pouring out onstage, all summer long



Led by sizzling frontchick, Jenna McDougall,
this Australian pop-core import has been
wowing American concert audiences for the
last five years. Based on the strength of the
group's just-released record, Underworld,
Tonight Alive will certainly be a 2018 must-see.


One of the festival's originals, ska kingpin,
Less Than Jake sparkled like diamond on
the 2016 outing. In 2018, they're back.
"Making Warped Tour Great Again!"

7/18-7/20, 7/22-7/27, 7/29-8/5


Following a U.S. 2018 spring tour
with Our Last Night and Jule Vera,
this hard-working British band will
be back crisscrossing America on
ALL the 2018 Warped Tour dates.
During that time, they might have
a chance to "Come Out to L.A."



Hot Topic majority shareholders,
Black Veil Brides, will return to
reclaim the title of Warped Tour's
"Most Precious Commodity."
Simply put, I'm psyched!



Catchy songs. Crunchy band. They'll have no
problem, "getting by," all summer in 2018.



I once told bassist Nicole Rich how
Doll Skin is the greatest American
rock band since Guns N' Roses. She
looked at me like I was an idiot.
Fortunately for me and countless
others, her snappy combo will be
performing on the entire 2018 tour.



Described best stylistically (by me)
as The Stones-meets-Bowie at a
dirty Vegas-style fashion show,
Palaye Royale is one of the world's
last surviving, truly authentic rock
bands. If you miss them on this
summer's tour, you might suck.


So, what are your favorite 2018 Warped Tour picks? Feel free to share with the class in the "Comments" section below.

I'll likely be hitting various dates around the country, so if you spot a little old man wandering aimlessly around the park, holding a corn dog and carrying a Hello Kitty lunch box, come on over and say, "Hi." I love making new friends!

-Christopher Long
(March 2018)



6/21 Pomona, CA   6/22 San Diego, CA   6/23 Mountain View, CA   6/24 Ventura, CA
6/28 Phoenix, AZ   6/29 Las Vegas, NV   6/30 Salt Lake City, UT   7/01 Denver, CO
7/03 St.Louis, MO   7/05 Bonner Springs, KS   7/06 Dallas, TX   7/07 San Antonio, TX 
7/08 Houston, TX   7/10 Nashville, TN   7/12 Virginia Beach, VA   7/13 Camden, NJ 
7/14 Holmdel, NJ   7/15 Hartford, CT   7/16 Pittsburgh, PA   7/17 Toronto, ON
7/18 Cuyahoga Falls, OH   7/19 Cincinnati, OH   7/20 Detroit, MI   7/21 Chicago, IL
7/22 Minneapolis, MN   7/23 Milwaukee, WI   7/24 Indianapolis, IN   7/25 Darien Center, NY
7/26 Scranton, PA   7/27 Mansfield, MA   7/28 Wantagh, NY   7/29 Columbia, MD
7/30 Charlotte, NC   7/31 Atlanta, GA   8/02 Jacksonville, FL   8/03 Orlando, FL
8/04 Tampa, FL   8/05 West Palm Beach, FL

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