16 Surprise Acts Of Warped Tour 2015
By Craig Zombar
Warped Tour has been under way for almost a month now, and our favorite bands have been killing it. Other artists have been killing it as well that some people may not have been noticing. I comprised a list of 16 bands who were surprises this year on the tour.
This article is in no way telling the reader what he or she should see; I’m just giving credit to where it’s due, to artists who need more love on the tour, and also making some suggestions to the readers who are still planning their days at Warped.
I will include live videos of every band I will be talking about in the article. It would seem weird to talk about how good they are live and then provide a video of their studio recordings. This way, the readers can see what I am talking about.
So let’s begin!
“I was there and I looked at the schedule and was like ‘Oh shit, that’s right. Transit is here.'”
Wait, they’re on Warped again? Yes, the indie pop punk band proudly from Boston, MA is on Warped Tour. They have been providing great sets on the Journey’s stage and in the Acoustic Basement. I almost forgot about Transit being on Warped. When watching the Warped Tour webcast in Pomona, CA, they were the second band shown (after Neck Deep killing main) and I was like…”Oh yeah!”
“Transit is one of those bands that if you look them up before seeing them, you’ll go ‘I really don’t care to see this band’. But when you do see them, you’re like ‘Hot damn, this is really fucking good.'”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8EyLOm8ZmDU, here’s their full set on The Journey’s Stage.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TIjj-UNViLA, here’s their full set performance in the Acoustic Basement Tent.
Long story short, Yes, Transit is on Warped Tour. Don’t forget about or sleep on these guys. Let’s start the trend of not forgetting about Transit ever again!
The NEON iCON himself from Houston, TX/Duluth, MN/Los Angeles, CA is on Warped Tour this year guys. He has been doing a great job and has fit right in! He’s featured artists on the tour in his sets, has one of the coolest merch tents and figured out quickly that this tour is about the fans.
I’ve noticed that his merch booth times are always directly after his set. I haven’t been hearing anyone having trouble getting a selfie or high fives from the iCON. Some rumors have been suggesting that you might have to buy a shirt first. Anyway, it’s still cool seeing a more mainstream artist caring about the meet and greets like he has been doing along the tour so far. Many people who have seen him have been posting on the Defend Pop Punk Group that it was a fun and enjoyable set.
It’s a little bit weird because when he was announced, people weren’t as welcoming to him at first. Now he’s probably one of the more well-attended acts on the tour this year and will probably remain to be as the tour goes through the second half.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfIT24OIeuU, here’s a video highlighting his set.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usKm-rb130k, here’s the video where he featured artists from the tour, including bassist Andy Glass from We Came As Romans and guitarist Kamron Bradbury from Beartooth. Travis Barker of Blink-182 played drums for this as well.
If you catch RiFF RAFF, you are destined to have a good time. If only he could’ve brought on Andy Milonakis to do their song “Neato” from his Three Loco outfit. Alas…maybe next time.
P.S. If one takes The NEON iCON as a serious rapper…they’re going to have a bad time.
This artist has definitely surprised me this year as well. I had no idea who she was, but after researching a bit into this artist, I came to find out that she is on a major record label and lives a very different life than the bands on the tour. She was raised in an Albanian-immigrant household in Staten Island, NY and found her way to getting signed early in her career. She moved to Los Angeles after being signed by a major label and has made songs with Nicki Minaj/David Guetta, Cash Cash, Pete Wentz, and others. I don’t think any of the bands in the scene have experienced things like this, or will any time soon. She is a songwriter as well and has written hits such as “The Monster” by Rihanna & Eminem. Since she’s been on the tour, she has had consistent, energetic sets and knew what she was coming into at Warped. She also seems to be a very down-to-earth person and is always around her merch tent eager to meet people, which is cool to see even though she lives a very different lifestyle. I personally want to meet her this year to ask her how the scene has affected her since she came into it as more of an outsider than Riff Raff did, and what she will take away from the genre. She is also a very talented vocalist and these live videos will show it.
Definitely don’t forget about her either guys!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxbArhVPdNE, When was the last time we heard a Top 20 hit on Warped? I think that’s kinda cool.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euzwWPdqmV4, she definitely went into Warped Tour as a mainstream artist in the right way. You can tell she’s having a good time. (by the way, that song is “I Can’t Stop Drinking About You”).
Koo Koo Kanga Roo
Speaking of going to a band’s set literally to just have fun and a good time, look no further than these guys! They seem to have one of the best sets of the entire Warped Tour this year, and it’s really cool to see. They might even come back for another year at this rate.
“Koo Koo Kanga Roo played right in front of our tent last week and it honestly looked like the most fun set of the whole day.”
“Koo Koo Kanga Roo’s set on Saturday was the most fun set I’ve been to at a warped tour.”
These quotes from Facebook’s Defend Pop Punk Group shouldn’t fool you. Koo Koo Kanga Roo has been such a nice surprise this year. I definitely recommend going to their set to just forget about everything for 25 minutes, be a kid again and have a good time.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjuojNEngy8, skip to two minutes in, after the “Everybody Poops” song, for a good time.
The next band up is Night Riots from San Luis Obispo, CA and they have been one of the more underrated bands on the tour so far. They killed it during the webcast and they use a lot of different sounds through their petal boards, which gives them a more indy/alt-rock sound. I also think this band is going to get better over time and will produce some very good EPs & Albums in the next few years. They have a very unique sound to them, which may help them get farther along. Another interesting artist you might plan on checking out during your day at Warped.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfdTeiI1iSs, “Contagious” live.
The Dirty Nil
The Dirty Nil is a 3-piece grunge band out of Hamilton, ON that have been playing their butts off on the Ernie Ball stage during the tour. I’ve been noticing they haven’t been having too many people showing up to their sets.
The Dirty Nil is almost PUP’s (who are also killing it on Warped this year) long lost little brother. I hope you guys check out both members of this lovely family!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOtM_jceSYU Seriously, these guys are awesome!
If you guys like what you hear, definitely plan on seeing them. They could use the support!
Lee Corey Oswald
These guys are a band from Portland, OR who has been a great band to watch. People have been saying great things about them and they have supported some good causes on the tour as well. This band’s fans are also referred to as “The JFKs”, because according to the band, “we will blow your brains out with the power of our songs.” So guys, if you have some extra time to kill during the day, and Lee Corey Oswald happens to be playing, you should stop by.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oAk4pLhvy1k, here’s is their performance on the Warped Webcast.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b9COVwLBnQE, and here is bassist Sam Pape on the Monster Energy pit blog talking about the causes they support! They give out brochures and other things!
Mod Sun has been on Warped Tour before, but he has come back with a vengeance this year. There are many more people into him this year, and it’s a cool thing. He provides some very fun and catchy hip hop music to listen to. Mod Sun has such a good stage presence and persona about him, which in turn makes people enjoy themselves at his set. I can predict that Mod Sun will become even bigger over the next few years, and he may be on future Warped Tours as well. If you want a set to just chill out and relax at, then Mod Sun is one of the sets where you can do just that. The amount of support he’s gotten this year is why he made my surprises list. Many people have found about him and they’re attending his sets. Who knew a hip hop artist from Minneapolis, MN would be getting this much love?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ptGIVfaqLY, here are his songs, “1970” & “Howlin”, live.
This band is another one that could be categorized as nothing but fun, and one is destined to have just that at their sets. Anyone who has seen them can definitely say that. These guys are Baby Baby from Atlanta, GA and they provide a really fun and energetic set with many different instruments. It’s just wild! I 100% recommend seeing this band.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNoxiY5fV7A, Here they are live!
The Kenneths are a punk band from London, UK who were unknown coming into the tour, mainly because they had only been a band for 7 months. They are managed by Ted Dwayne of Mumford & Sons. Even though they are new, they have proved themselves over the first half of the tour. I know I keep seeing people talking about them on the Defend Pop Punk Group.
They bring back an old style of punk that hasn’t been seen in a while. It’s not the heaviest, rattiest punk in the world, but it’s still an interesting and fun sound to listen to. Definitely check them out on the Kevin Says stage if you get the chance! If you like them, a t-shirt is only ten dollars.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CFZ4Pk2UTEg, Here’s “What Happened to the Radio” live.
Up next is an Alt-rock band Jule Vera from Opelika, AL. They got signed to Pure Noise Records and have been an unknown so far on the tour this year. This doesn’t mean this band has not shown up to Warped Tour ready to work. They have been putting on some great sets, including one with Anberlin. The band is very talented and I can see why they were signed to Pure Noise in the first place. If you’re into alternative, festival-vibe music, Jule Vera should be for you.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGgstrIENBs, “Chemical Machine” live.
Stacked Like Pancakes
When Warped Tour started this year, there was not one ska band on the lineup. Ska-lovers were very sad. Then Kevin Lyman had a final announcement of smaller bands who were going to play and this band Stacked Like Pancakes, from Baltimore, MD, was announced. Even though they are now done with the tour, the dates they played drew more and more people to their set.
Why is that? They came ready to work and they provided great sets for people to listen to. It would not be a crazy notion to believe that these guys may be on the whole tour next year for how much buzz they are getting. Stacked Like Pancakes filled in the gap of ska music very well this year at Warped Tour, and hopefully next year they won’t have to solely fill the gaps by themselves. (I’m hoping Reel Big Fish, We Are The Union, & Survay Says join these guys).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8Y6XjIvLKo, Here is their full set from Nashville Warped Tour! I recommend starting at “SFDD”.
Remember this name, because these guys are going to be the next huge pop punk band in our scene.
Out of Cincinnati, OH, these guys came into Warped Tour ready to provide some crazy sets. So far they’ve been keeping that promise. They paid their dues last year as the catering band. They worked during the day to help feed all of the bands on the tour. When they weren’t doing that, they were out trying to sell their CDs in the line, and got to play a couple of dates along the tour. This year after paying their dues, they are playing the whole tour. Like I said earlier, this band has a fantastic live show, and they will keep getting bigger and bigger. One should definitely plan on seeing these guys this year on The Ernie Ball Stage all summer long, especially after you watch these videos.
After searching for a video where the singer Craig hangs off of the stage and not finding it, it is a little harder to show these guys’ stage presence. But hopefully you guys like what you see.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EG6fpkFuy9k, “Right Where We Belong” live.
Hopefully you guys take my advice and plan on seeing them! It’s promised to be a fun time.
This Metalcore band from Osaka, Japan has gotten not much love this year on the tour so far. They’ve been killing it on The Monster Energy Stage, and could be a huge band in the next couple of years. The reason why they’re here on the list is because they haven’t gotten as many people to show up to their sets. I promise the readers that they will have a very fun time if they decide to come out to see these guys. These guys are also an underrated band, because their live sound is amazing. I don’t know about you guys, but at Cleveland Warped Tour I’m going to go insane to these guys!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EHD_gX0RU0, Their fans at a date doing the Wall of Death.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QuuLCASkJM, This gave me goosebumps! And so glad they’re opening with Monolith.
This band is getting people to show up to their sets, don’t get me wrong. But I should be hearing more buzz about these guys. Let’s hope I will be when the second half of Warped Tour continues on.
Family Force 5
When they were announced for Warped Tour, I just thought they would be a fun comeback set. Anyone I have talked to that has seen them 100% recommends anyone checking out their set, and says that they shouldn’t be overlooked this summer. I agree with this too. Even though they are Christian-based, it doesn’t mean they aren’t a talented group and provide an excellent set to attend. They also are very active at their merch booths and will sign everything, which is cool coming from a group that’s been around for awhile. Their genre on Facebook is “make you dance.” This band from Atlanta, GA does just that. They made the list mainly because I didn’t feel anyone would be talking about them. People are though, you should find out why if you can!
“FF5 is killer, their energy is basically unmatched. The have their own dance, obviously the show is gonna be fun.”
Listen to the other concertgoers. Have fun!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkuYPVgYTpU, here’s their full set.
If you are still reading this far, that’s incredible and thank you so much for reading! I hope you are more informed on artists you may not have thought about seeing until you read my post. I also hope you have a good Warped Tour and hope you get to see everyone you want to see!
The last band on the list is Emarosa. The reason why they are here is because other people have been founding out about this band and told me they had to make the list. I already knew these guys were going to be good, because I have seen them live before. Let me assure you, Bradley Walden is the second craziest vocalist in the scene today (the first being Jason Aalon Butler of letlive).
“BRADLEY RODE ON MY SHOULDERS FOR HALF OF A SONG!”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2bY42gIFTzQ, here’s him showing his antics!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-qsh6jSTwu4, another example. (He rides on someone’s shoulders.)
The sad thing is that they are not on the tour anymore either. But let’s hope these guys are on the full one next year! They’re so good!
Other Honorable Mentions you should check out: While She Sleeps, PUP, I Killed The Prom Queen, Seaway, Trophy Wives, Trophy Eyes & Our Last Night. Thank you all so much for reading!
Last modified: July 27, 2015