Vans Warped Tour 2012: The Good, The Bad, and the Auto-Tuned

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Machine Gun Kelly is scheduled to perform Thursday, June 28, at Warped Tour at Camelback Ranch.
See also: Vans Warped Tour 2011
See also: Hot Chicks at Wicked Tattoos at the Vans Warped Tour

If you're going to The Vans Warped Tour on Thursday, look around and try to spot the dinosaur. It won't be a giant carnivorous lizard with huge teeth and disproportionately small arms.

It will be me.

See, I remember a simpler Warped Tour. I'm one of the few who remembers a time, back in the Mesozoic era I guess, when rappers Eminem and Ice T got booed off the stage by angry punk fans. I remember crowd surfing on the asphalt of Celebrity Theater, and the mud soaked fields of Manzanita Speedway.

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David Robles
Warped fans at the Phoenix stop of Warped Tour 2011.
Yes, a lot has changed at The Vans Warped Tour. Ska bands had found a place among the pantheon of the tour's greatest bands. All the bands we now consider "giant", from Pennywise to The Dropkick Murphys, descended upon the valley in one enormous sun-baked extravaganza. There were skate ramps everywhere. Flash-forward a decade.
It has been 10 years since I last donned my oldest pair of checkered slip-ons and Manic Panic hair dye, and ran screaming and sunburned into the giant sweaty crowd at Peoria Sports Complex. I was one of those excited kids, one who didn't care about the heat or the crowds. It was magical.

I guess I lost touch with the Warped Tour, because looking over this year's roster, well, I wasn't too familiar with the bands. But I'm changing my dinosaur ways, I'm diving into the lineup and figuring out what's what. And I'm going to scope the festival out, either in an attempt to relive my glory days, or possibly just to regale today's youth with stories of what it was like at Warped Tour when I was their age. Here's 10 Warped Tour bands that caught my attention -- the good, the bad, and the ugly.

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Ballyhoo!

Ballyhoo

This Maryland-based rock band takes its inspiration from bands like 311, Sublime, and Green Day. Those and pretty much any band out of Orange County in the mid-1990s. It's not groundbreaking, but it's easy to listen to.
 
Cold Forty Three

I'm not a big fan of Auto-Tune. Okay, that's an understatement; I despise anything Auto-Tuned. Cold Forty Three's "It All Comes Back to Me," is certainly no exception to the rule. The L.A. band seems to take its cues from Fall Out Boy, a lingering influence on the Warped style, but I'm not sure I'm down with this being the sound of my beloved Warped Tour.
 
Funeral Party

Another Los Angeles entry, my first taste of these guys was "Where Did It Go Wrong". I can't see moshing to it, but it's well arranged and has a good groove. Funeral Party, in my humble old-man opinion, seems to be one of the more musically ambitious bands playing the tour.

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Camelback Ranch Stadium

10710 W. Camelback Road, Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

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