The annual Warped Tour kicks off in Houston on July 13, but the Road to Warped isn't exactly a straight shot to Texas. As a lead-up to the first date of the full tour, Warped is throwing a pregame party in Anchorage on Wednesday, marking the first time in the massive punk/metal festival's 19-year history that Alaska has been included in its itinerary.
In years past, the Road to Warped was the name of a weeks-long battle of the bands that resulted in one local band each year joining the Warped Tour festival for select dates. But the 2014 Road to Warped is a one-day affair, something of a light version of the festival, with a main stage featuring acts from this year's tour, plus a stage for local artists and another for acoustic performances.
Of the national acts -- ranging from hip-hop to ska to metalcore to pop-punk -- some are playing their first-ever shows in Alaska. Here's a primer for the Road to Warped main stage lineup.
Named for the area code in their hometown of Boulder, Colorado, 3OH!3 takes strains of hip-hop, dubstep, synth-pop and emo and twists them all together into dance party-minded movers. This is the only date the duo is playing on this year's Warped Tour.
All Time Low
The pop-punk crew All Time Low is another Road to Warped exclusive, as the Maryland band won't be joining the tour in Houston, though the group has been a Warped Tour fixture in years past. The band took its name from a lyric in a New Found Glory song, which is a pretty good indicator of the sort of hook-driven, emo-y shout-alongs you're in for.
Falling in Reverse
Las Vegas metalcore band Falling in Reverse employs the genre's typical good cop/bad cop vocals, usually with growled or screamed verses and cleanly sung choruses, but Falling in Reverse is willing to go poppier than many of their peers. It's probably a love-it-or-hate-it formula, and you can check out their recent cover of Coolio's "Gangsta's Paradise" to gauge your tolerance. Or it might be good for a laugh.
Less Than Jake
Ska-punk hit its commercial zenith in the '90s, and while Less Than Jake benefited from the extra attention, the Florida band never had the breakout hits enjoyed by the likes of, say, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. But maybe because of that, Less Than Jake has remained a successful, ongoing concern long after the genre drifted back into the underground.
The Devil Wears Prada
At first blush, the Devil Wears Prada is a strange name for a metalcore band that traffics in mosh-pit-baiting breakdowns and growled vocals. The Ohio group took its name from the book of the same title, which later became a movie of the same title. The religious band took it as an anti-materialistic message, and while that might not exactly be the theme of the book or film, the band stuck with it. OK, so it's a strange name at second blush, too.
In the early 2000s, Yellowcard made a name for itself by being the pop-punk band with a violin; then "Ocean Avenue" became a hit. Now they're seasoned Warped Tour veterans with a violin.