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Vans Warped Tour lures some of rock’s wildest acts

Fri., Aug. 13, 2010

Try as you might, you’ll never catch them all.

With close to a hundred bands converging on the Gorge Amphitheatre this weekend for the Vans Warped Tour, and with around 10 stages presenting 30-minute sets all day, some choices must be made.

You don’t want to waste a walk through the gantlet of the masses to miss a great show, so arm yourself with information.

In its 16th year, Vans Warped 2010 shows the festival’s growth from corporate skatepunk origins to more of a barometer of who’s next in the heaviest corners of rock, with bands from genres extending to emo, old school punk, metal and beyond.

Here are a few select acts to put on your radar if they’re not there already

Andrew W.K.: His over-the-top antics, planet-sized personality and irresistible keyboard-drenched hooks won over the indie music press. While some still speculate about whether he’s an actor playing himself, his stage show is real-deal, indulgent ’80s metal showmanship without apology.

Reel Big Fish: The best way to sneak a brass instrument into a punk rock festival is dress it in ska. This dangerously lighthearted, veteran ska/pop-punk act has taken a lot of grief over the years. Whether or not the band is punk enough or not, Reel Big Fish is best known for its wicked-intense live show.

Motion City Soundtrack: As much as they can crank it up and keep it fast and tight, Motion City Soundtrack is equally capable of writing melodic anthems. And while frontman Justin Pierre will be the last person to take his own geekiness seriously, the band’s consistency speaks for itself.

Every Time I Die: Buffalo, N.Y.’s metalcore foursome absolutely does not hold back onstage. Before the set’s finished you’ll see neck-swinging guitars, near-collisions between band members, rowdy mosh pits and nonstop crowd surfing. Just as Every Time I Die is visually stunning live, the music is a sonic assault of maniacal stabs and punishing riffs.

Bring Me The Horizon: After splitting with guitarist Curtis Ward, this British metalcore band announced last week that it was putting out an album with new guitarist Jona Weinhoff. Scheduled for Oct. 4 release, the band’s third album is titled “There Is A Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is A Heaven, Let’s Keep It A Secret.” It also features electro-popper Lights as well as You Me at Six frontman Josh Franceschi, who is also appearing at Warped.

The Rocket Summer: At age 10, Stephen Bryce Avary’s father bought him his first guitar from a pawn shop. At age 16, Avary self-released his first EP. Since then he has continued to self-release albums under his Rocket Summer moniker, playing all of the instruments and handling all of the production. Onstage, Avary re-creates his style of upbeat, feel-good power pop with the help of high school friends.

NeverShoutNever: Another sort of one-man project, NeverShoutNever is the stage name of alt-rock singer-songwriter Cristofer Ingle. In a YouTube interview, Ingle said he spells the name with spaces when he is feeling unhappy, and sometimes follows it with an exclamation point (though the official spelling has been without spaces since 2009).

Onstage, Ingle plays guitar and ukulele and is joined by a five-piece band which includes a keyboardist/violinist and a percussionist who plays the xylophone.

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