The idobi All-Star Warped Tour Rookie Squad

By | June 10, 2014 at 3:30 PM

In our best sports announcer voice…

It’s time for Vans Warped Tour, the biggest show of the summer. Each year, the tour’s parking lots and amphitheatres become battlegrounds as the scene’s most promising young musicians fight to claim the title of your new favorite artist. There’s only one problem–there are about a million bands playing and only so many hours in the day. To help you with your inevitable scheduling crisis, for this week’s Tuesday Ten we’ve put together an idobi All-Star Rookie Squad–complete with stats and live footage as highlight reels–of artists you absolutely cannot miss as they make their first official appearances on Warped Tour this summer.

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Better Off

STATS
Releases: 1 LP
Years as a band: 1
Facebook likes: 3.9k
Twitter followers: 1.2k
Warped dates: 7/22-7/29

If you’re lucky enough to be attending Warped Tour within their small window of dates, you definitely need to make time to check out emo punk band Better Off in the Acoustic Basement. The band first broke out with their remarkably polished debut album (I Think) I’m Leaving, which was released last August, just months after they formed. Packed with driving melodies and cathartic hooks, this album cements Better Off as one of the most promising acts in the current wave of nostalgic rock bands recalling the early 2000’s. After a national US tour with Major League earlier in the year, this Warped Tour stint is just the latest step in their steadily growing career. While their album includes plenty of energetic electric guitar parts, Better Off’s unplugged set this summer will offer a unique opportunity to absorb the band’s poignant lyrics delivered via Luke Granered’s incredible voice. Make sure to catch them now, so you can be the cool kid who saw them first when all your friends want to see them play the entire tour next year. (Catherine Yi)

Close Your Eyes

STATS
Releases: 3 albums
Years as a band: 9
Facebook likes: 149.5k
Twitter followers: 11.6k
Members with long, blond hair anyone could be jealous of: 1

Christian pop punk/hardcore band Close Your Eyes have been around since 2005, and they’re still going strong. After lead singer and founding member Shane Raymond left in 2012, the band could’ve easily called it quits, especially considering that several drummers and bassists have come and gone. Instead, Sam Ryder Robinson (formerly of Blessed By A Broken Heart) took Raymond’s place and brought the Texas-based quartet together with rugged vocals that carry a distinct British accent–a drastic change from before. Their 2013 album Line in the Sand shows just that, as Close Your Eyes try to identify who they are as a band and how they develop their sound through experimentation in different genres. From the record, we see tracks that range from a style reminiscent of Homesick-era A Day To Remember (“Burdened By Hope”) to 30 Seconds To Mars’ A Beautiful Lie (“Frame And Glass”). Aside from the way everything seems to be changing for the band, whether it be new members to their sound, at least one thing remains consistent: Their faith. It’s highlighted through song lyrics. They have a clear message with the intent to uplift and inspire–even if you’re not able to relate personally to the lyrics when it comes to religious views, the words can be interpreted in different ways to suit just about anything in your life. Perhaps that’s what makes the band so distinct. Even though they’re new to the Warped scene, Close Your Eyes aren’t strangers to putting on a show that’ll get crowds going faster than you can chant their name. (Emily Yee)

Dangerkids

STATS
Releases: 1 album
Years as a band: 2
Facebook likes: 44k
Twitter followers: 9.6k
It factor: Powerhouse blend of heavy vocals and hip hop

Remember your favorite band on Warped before they made it big? It was like keeping your own little secret, right? You were full of enthusiasm as you bragged on them and encouraged your friends to check them out. Well, here’s your chance to catch the next big secret before it’s let out of the bag. Straight out of Dayton, Ohio, Dangerkids pack the raw energy and excitement that makes the Vans Warped Tour what punk rock summer camp dreams are made of. Formed in 2012, the American rock band describes themselves as “five people lost in noise.” Proudly representing Rise Records with their debut album Collapse, the current five-star lineup is fronted by Andy Bayne’s vocals paired seamlessly with Tyler Smyth’s own vocal elements. With Bayne’s heavy, classic hardcore lines and Smyth’s clean, emcee hip-hop hooks, it’s like the next generation’s Chester Bennington and Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park. Dangerkids truly have it all–the energy, the spunk, the grit, and the determination. With this being their first ever appearance at Warped Tour, you can bank on a zealous, passionate opener. Dangerkids also have a wild card up their sleeve with female drummer Katie Cole, who dominates the drum game and delivers a new twist to the hardcore nation. Of course, there are a billion other female drummers out there, but with Cole you’ll quickly notice her as an integral part of the Dangerkids lineup and a piece of the puzzle that completes the team as a whole entity. You take note of her as a talented drummer with sass and not just another female in the game. If you’re already into other Rise Records artists like Dance Gavin Dance, Sleeping With Sirens, and Issues, Dangerkids just might be your new favorite act. Take our word for it. You don’t want to miss out on getting lost in noise with Dangerkids this summer. (Alyson Stokes)

Elder Brother

STATS
Releases: 1 album
Years as a band: 7 months
Members: 2
Facebook likes: 3.8k
Assists: Matthew and Charles Vincent (of The American Scene) added bass and drums to Elder Brother’s debut album

It’s mid-July, you’re sweating in the pit, and you’re hearing your favorite bands in rapid-fire succession for the entire day. There’s nothing quite like Warped Tour, and this summer has a slew of great artists to offer. But when you’re ready for a break to catch your breath from the high energy of the mainstage, head on over to the Acoustic Basement and catch a stripped down set from Elder Brother. Besides the small fact the Basement lineup is beautiful, you can take the twenty-five minutes to cool down, hydrate, and chill with the intimate and brooding songs this duo has to offer. Composed of Dan Rose from Daybreaker and Kevin Geyer of The Story So Far, the side project is gaining traction for their clear vocals and guitar as well as the focus on emotionally intense lyrics. The band easily pairs thoughtful lines with a catchy chorus, so don’t be surprised if the somewhat dark melodies stick with you. Their debut album Heavy Head is filled out on bass and drums by Matthew and Charles Vincent of The American Scene, making for a gripping rhythm section that supplements the crisper notes of Rose’s deep, resonant vocals. Though the band itself is extremely new to the stage (Elder Brother’s first show was this January), its members are no strangers to live performance. If you at least happen to walk by the acoustic stage during Elder Brother’s set, I promise you won’t be disappointed with what you hear. (Hannah Pierangelo)

Icon For Hire

STATS
Releases: 2 studio albums, 2 EPs
Years as a band: 7
Facebook likes: 155k
Twitter followers: 24.9k
It factor: A live energy to write home about

You probably have plenty of pop punk and hardcore bands on your list to see at this year’s Warped Tour. Throw a curveball into that schedule with the hauntingly great Icon For Hire. While comparisons can be drawn from their music to bands like Skillet and Flyleaf, their live show holds a vibe no other band could duplicate. Their set is a loud occasion, and one that’s energetic to the extreme. All bases are loaded, and not a single member stands still for more than a millisecond. Vocalist Ariel has an especially avid demeanor, getting so into the lyrics she’s singing she almost resembles a superfan dancing in the crowd. It’s not every day you find a band that’s this into the music they play, and it’s the best aspect about them. They’re in it to win it. It’s only a matter of time before they become a household name among music fans worldwide. Musically, there’s no doubt that the band are in a league all their own with a candy coated rock sound like nothing else you’ll hear on the Warped Tour 2014 lineup. There are, however, certain resemblances to acts like New Years Day (like a goth-pop edge and kickass frontwoman) who were a big hit on Warped Tour ‘13. It’s a no brainer that Icon For Hire will experience something along the same lines this summer. This is a next level game that the band is introducing you to, and you’ll be lucky to play along in it. (Emillie Marvel)

Nick Santino

STATS
Releases: 1 album
Years under his own name: 2
Facebook likes: 7k
Twitter followers: 107k
It factor: A charming country twang you can’t help but love

Unless you’re a complete Warped rookie yourself, you’ll have heard of Nick Santino–or at least his ex-band’s name, A Rocket To The Moon. But while he might have a bit of experience under his belt, this is first appearance as a solo artist–which is a completely different ball game. He’s country music’s new kid on the block, and stepping up to the stage without a band makes him a complete rookie in this field, but his infectious personality and relaxed stage banter will deliver a home run. And if his incredible new album Big Skies is anything to go by, Santino’s enthusiastic new venture into the world of country music will see him into the big leagues this year. The crowd at Warped can be a tough one to please, but Santino’s country roots are his greatest offense right now. His soulful music gives you the chance to experience something different to his heavier counterparts–or the chance to just chill out in the sun. He’s not hiding behind a band any more, he’s going out with guitars blazing, and you’ll be cheering him on by the end of his set. Is there nothing this man cannot do? Go and find out for yourself–you’ll see firsthand some expert showmanship which is only going to further his winning streak. (Alex Bear)

PVRIS

STATS
Releases: 2 EPs (one full-band, one acoustic)
Years as a band: 3
Facebook likes: 10k
Twitter followers: 2.5k
Assists: Love, Robot; A Loss For Words; Josh Herzer of Lions Lions

PVRIS throws all formulas out the window, this Massachusetts three-piece craft a refreshingly unique sound that manages to achieve a perfect balance of light and dark. Few bands blend pop influences with heavy roots so seamlessly; the songs are just as aggressive as they are unforgettably infectious, lead by frontwoman Lynn Gunn’s melodies. The band hit it straight out of the park with their 2013 self-titled EP, creating a debut that didn’t just feature an impressive sound–it featured an impressively well-realized sound, with the band seeming to have found their musical identity within a year of formation. So it’s no surprise their road to success has been on a similar fast track. They got the official Warped stamp of approval after winning their local Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands last summer, and their recent cross-country treks with A Skylit Drive and A Loss For Words have them revved and ready for a summer on the realest tour out there. Oh, and speaking of A Loss For Words, did we mention that their frontman Matty Arsenault likes PVRIS so much he took them under his wing as their manager, and called on Gunn to sing on AL4W’s recent song “Distance”? It’s fitting that PVRIS named themselves after a foreign city, because we have a feeling their music is about to bring them to all corners of the world. (Eleanor Grace)

Rob Lynch

STATS
Releases: 2 EPs
Years as an artist: 3
Facebook likes: 3.6k
Twitter followers: 1.6k
Assists: Shane Henderson of Valencia fame is co-producing his debut album

Stamford, Lincolnshire’s own Rob Lynch has hit the road alongside some truly talented musicians with his acoustic/folk tunes. He was just out with fellow singer/songwriter Charlie Simpson (who you may have seen on Warped Tour last year) in addition to touring with Geoff Rickly, Koji, and Brian Marquis on the UK edition of the Acoustic Basement Tour. His set on that tour, an extension of the Acoustic Basement stage, was so impressive that Marquis brought him abroad to play the actual tour itself, where he’ll no doubt gain tons of new fans all around the country with his stripped-back and emotional songs. It’s also a known fact that just about any Warped Tour date you could attend will be hot, some dreadfully so (looking at you, southern states), so you’ll want to take a reprieve from the heat. Thankfully, the Acoustic Basement tent is packed full of great bands all day, with the diamond of the bunch being Rob Lynch. His honest and earnest lyrics are reminiscent of fellow Englishman Frank Turner but with a soothing acoustic/folk tone. His debut album All These Nights In Bars Will Somehow Save My Soul will be out on Xtra Mile Recordings, home to artists like The Swellers, Against Me!, and Vinnie Caruana. His music is instantly relatable and catchy in ways that pop punk bands would dream of–without the cheese factor that comes with some of those bands. And, come on – when he’s touring huge venues here in the States (which is definitely inevitable) you’ll want to say “oh, I saw him when he played Warped Tour, we had a drink together,” right? I’d think so! (Tarynn Law)

This Wild Life

STATS
Releases: 1 full-length, 2 EPs
Years as a band: 3
YouTube subscribers: 96.2k
Facebook likes: 104.8k
Most surprising YouTube cover: Bring Me The Horizon’s “Sleepwalking” with 3,672,730 views

We’ve seen it time and time again: a couple of pop punk kids become softies, suddenly exposing their innate musical talent and diversity and rebranding their sound to be more accessible to the mainstream and more organic in its composition. This Wild Life are still punks at heart, boasting a DIY ethos at the core while making serene acoustic tunes that are melodic in timbre and extremely emotional and honest on a visceral level (think City and Colour meets Valencia). The band recently released their debut full-length, Clouded, on May 27 via Epitaph Records and have been as interactive and personal as possible on all media platforms in an effort to constantly engage and welcome all new fans of their music. They also recently performed their song “Roots and Branches” on ABC’s The Bachelorette, proving that they can appeal to both hardcore kids and moms alike. But there is no shame and there are no gimmicks with this band. With influences ranging from Sara Bareilles to The Used, it’s not surprising to see a couple of bearded dudes with tattoos and crooning about unconditional love and being completely serious about it. (Ethan Rose)

Young Statues

STATS
Releases: 1 full-length, 2 EPs (one of covers)
Years as a band: 3
Facebook likes: 9k
% of new fans won over at each show: 97%

Young Statues are standout rookies on this year’s Warped Tour who will be making their debut appearance as part of the Acoustic Basement, the perfect venue for the band’s quieter indie-rock vibes. These newcomers are anything but inexperienced, however, with a number of releases under their belt as well as past tours with the likes of Transit and NGHBRS. Young Statues are looking to make a splash and shed their freshmen status with their swelling guitars and introspective lyrics that would get them drafted to a team sonically closer to Allison Weiss and Elder Brother rather than playing side-by-side with Beartooth or 3OH!3. This isn’t to say the band doesn’t have a certain versatility. In fact, fans have seen definite growth in range as the band has progressed; whether it’s a melancholy song such as “Meet Me At The Hudson” or a more peppy tune à la “Eraser,” Young Statues will undoubtedly grab the attention and reel in any ticket-holder who happens to pass by their tent. (Alyssa Dempsey)

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