Summer is right around the corner, and for the twenty-second year in a row, Vans Warped Tour will be filling a parking lot near you with dozens of the biggest and best bands in alternative music today. Anyone who has been to Warped before will tell you finding time to see everyone is legitimately impossible, but that doesn’t mean you should ever worry about having a good time. You have to try to be miserable at Warped Tour in order to have a bad time, and even then it’s fairly difficult.
We know you probably have a list of artists you’re hoping to see, but another thing Warped veterans will tell is that the best sets you can see are generally the ones performed by artists you have yet to discover. Allowing an artist to showcase their talent to you live for the very first time can be a life-changing event, and this year Warped Tour has put together a lineup bursting with artists from all corners of music who could soon become – or in some cases, arguably are – household names.
If you want to see the best of what’s next while attending Warped Tour 2017, there are seven artists we urge you to see. Give each one a chance (we included music to make it easier). We know you probably won’t want to fill your day with people you only just discovered, but even if you take in just one set from an artist below, we promise your day will have a memory making event. These artists have something special, each different from everyone else, and we believe you’ll be hearing a lot more from them in the years ahead.
By the way, tickets for Warped Tour are on sale now. Buy yours today.
Jule Vera (Playing 6/16-8/6)
A few times every year there is a meme that spreads online reminding people that pop star Katy Perry was once on Warped Tour. It’s a cool thing to see because it makes the strongest argument for seeing up and coming artists on the verge of becoming absolutely massive when attending Warped – even if you’re not all that familiar with their music prior to the show. This year, our belief in the next big star to first be seen on Warped Tour is Jule Vera. Fronted by Ansley Newman, the music of Jule Vera is bound to draw comparisons to other female fronted acts in alt. rock world, but Newman’s deeply personal lyricism allows her to carve a niche entirely her own. With “Lifeline” slowly building steam online, the sky is the limit for this young vocalist.
Creeper (Playing 6/16-8/6)
If you could somehow combine Three Cheers era My Chemical Romance with Aiden’s first three albums and Alkaline Trio’s Good Mourning, you would have something that sounds a lot like Creeper’s most recent release. A theatrical punk band that isn’t afraid of a good ballad, the U.K. has gifted America with the band for nearly three months this summer, and you would be a fool to miss out. If you can make it through the chorus of “Black Rain” without feeling that same blood rush you felt when first falling in love with the so-called alternative world of music, you are a far colder soul than us.
American Authors (Playing 6/16-7/19, 7/21-8/6)
If you think you haven’t heard American Authors before, it’s probably because you’re not aware of what songs they sing. Given the amount of licensing their music has received, especially “Best Day of My Life,” it is impossible to imagine someone who likes music making it to this point in time without having been exposed to American Author’s material. The band’s decision to bring their infectious brand of indie pop to the Warped masses helps the entire festival feel just a bit more mainstream than it has been in years past. If you want to feel the joy that comes with several thousand people celebrating existence in the present of positive music, this is the set to see at Warped 2017.
Courage My Love (Playing 6/16-8/6)
If you have yet to hear Synesthesia, the album Courage My Love released in February of this year, you have not yet heard one of the best records to hit shelves this year. The growth CML have made in the last several years continues to outpace others in their genre, and their live show is not to be missed. Like other artists on this list, there is very good chance Courage My Love could ascend through the music hierarchy in the years to come. This year on Warped could be their last, and you do not want to live with the regret of having missed them. We’ve been trying to get over missing a set from Further Seems Forever in the summer of 2001 for sixteen years and trust us – it still hurts. Don’t be like us. See Courage My Love and live the best life.
I Prevail (Playing 6/16-8/6)
We do not spend a lot of time covering post-hardcore, but I Prevail offer a unique twist on one of Warped’s favorite genres that is impossible to deny. By combining the science behind pop songwriting with a decidedly heavy sound, the Michigan-based group is able to maintain a space in hard rock entirely their own. They’re loud enough to incite moshing and circle pits, yet catchy enough to make a serious play for mainstream rock radio. They’re also not afraid to cover pop music, which can certainly help anyone get ahead.
Sammy Adams (Playing 6/16-7/28, 8/1-8/6)
Sometimes known as Boston’s Boy, Sammy Adams has been riding a wave of digital popularity for the better part of the last decade. The New England native is new to Warped Tour in 2017, but with a little luck, we believe he could easily leverage the exposure provided by a place on the world’s largest traveling music festival in a manner similar to genre peers G-Eazy and Machine Gun Kelly have done in the past. Adams makes music intended to help people have a good time, so there’s really no better place to be when walking around Warped’s vast grounds this summer than at his set.
Tillie (Playing 7/26-8/6)
The number of people who have told us to cover Tillie in the last six months is honestly a bit overwhelming. We want you to know we’ve heard you, and we’re doing our best to accommodate your demands. For everyone else, please consider this summer the absolute last chance you have to climb aboard the Tillie hype train before it leaves the station for good and ascends into the pop rock crossover stratosphere. This isn’t even a matter of ‘if’ in our minds, but when. Tillie is the future, and the future is inescapable (in the best possible way).