Well boys and girls, it’s that time of year again. Break out your tank tops, cut offs, and fill up your wallets, because the annual traveling musical circus known as the Van’s Warped Tour is coming back to Cincinnati on July 16th.
This year’s incarnation, held at Riverbend Music Center, doesn’t really hold many surprises - it’s filled with a lot of familiar names and faces for anyone who shops at Hot Topic or subscribes to Alt Press, or for those who make the annual trek to their local Warped Tour stop - but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many of them are the reason Warped Tour has become the mainstay that it is.
Bands of note? My money and time would be spent on hardcore/rock Warped Tour lifers Every Time I Die, who will have released their new monster of an album, From Parts Unknown, on July 1st. If you’re a fan of the band, you know what you’re in for. If you’ve never heard them - or seen them live - this is your chance to change that. From Parts Unknown is their fastest, most sonically brutal album since… well, maybe ever. It seems partnering them with producer - and Converge guitarist - Kurt Ballou was something the band never knew they needed. The album rips and is already the heavy album to beat for the year as far as this writer is concerned.
On the other end of the spectrum, indie/punk/emo heavyweights Saves the Day are making the most of the tour by playing a different set at each stop - so you never know what you’re going to get (which is fine, because they have a tremendous and mostly flawless back catalog to choose from). Earlier stops of the tour had them playing full albums front-to-back, so cross your fingers you’ll be treated to something equally a grand when they set up shop in the Queen City. And for both the initiated and uninitiated, if listening to and watching pop-punk and ska legends Less Than Jake tear through a set of old and new classics doesn’t get you pumped, I’m not sure what will...
We also recommend checking out solo hip-hop artist, the super down-to-earth and incredibly talented K.Flay. Her new self-released album Life As A Dog is out in the wild, and I’m sure her live show is going to highlight some of her more energetic tracks, both from her already extensive and luminous back catalog, and her new record.
Chances are it’ll be a hot one, but that’s not likely to stop you if you’ve already made the decision to join the throng of thousands of fans of all ages, from all over the genre map (Dayton’s thrashy The Devil Wears Prada, Nerdcore rapper MC Chris, metal icons Parkway Drive, and Cincinnati’s own pop-punk upstarts Mixtapes are a fairly good indication of the sonic gamut you’ll run when you step through the gates).
But if you’re on the fence, this year is as good as any to make it your inaugural adventure. If you’re lucky, you’ll find that this stop has a special guest, like a recent California stop did when Linkin Park made a surprise, cameo-filled appearance. Otherwise, we’d almost guarantee there’s a band or two to make it worth your time.