Friday, April 6, 2012


Dead Sara
Dead Sara performs at Club Nokia during Vans Warped Tour kick-off party. Dead Sara are Emily Armstrong (vocals/guitar), Siouxsie Medley (guitar), Chris Null (bass) and Sean Friday (drum).
photos by picksysticks

If last week's Vans Warped Tour kick-off party was a preview of what is to expect for this summer, then this summer's tour is going to be one of the best in recent memory. Announced performers performed at a special kick-off party at Los Angeles' Club Nokia last TDead Sara's Emily Armstronghursday with L.A.'s own Dead Sara playing a rousing set that also included performances by Falling In Reverse, Matt Toka and Forever Came Calling. The night also included surprise performances by two iconic Vans Warped Tour veterans The Used and Ryan Key of Yellowcard.

Earlier in the night, press gathered for a press conference which included an introduction by Warped producer and founder Kevin Lyman where he introduced bands playing on the tour with a big announcement that Warped Tour will head across the pond to London for the first time.

Also, a special screening of "No Room for Rockstars" from Stacy Peralta and the producers of Dogtown and Z Boys before the concert featuring Forever Came Calling. The band who, after selling their cds and performing in the parking lots hopign to be discovered during the Warped Tour, finally gets their turn to shine on this year's tour.

Of course, Warped Tour has been responsible for introducing unknown bands to the mainstream such a No Doubt, Paramore and Katy Perry. This year's tour, unlike any other, will feature a strong contingency of women-fronted bands that look to Warped to get them to the next level. Who will stand out at this years' festival? L.A. rockers Dead Sara, Neo Geo & Cherri Bomb, hip-hop artist Justina, Warped vets Eyes Set to Kill, Australia punk-rockers Tonight AliEmily Armstrong of Dead Sarave, The Fab Rudies, Sick of Sara and Poughkeepsie New York's very own We Are the In Crowd are a few of the girl-fronted bands that look to stand out in this male-dominated lineup.

On the heels of their hit single, "Weatherman," 2012 looks to be Dead Sara's breakout year after years of toiling away on L.A.'s club scene. Not only have they played at last month's South By Southwest Music and Film Festival, they plan to use their previously announced tours with Chevelle starting April 13 and The Used starting May 12th as preparation for their 40+ dates on Warped. And in what has to be one of the longest debut album release teases in history, Dead Sara reminds us why good things come to those who wait. A planned release last August was pushed back to October and then finally drops April 10th through Fontana/Universal by way of their own record label Pocket Kid Records.

"We were trying to make it right" says guitarist Siouxsie Medley. "We started our own record label and wanted to make the album right, building our team around it so we can achieve what we wanted to."

And waiting seems to be the right decision for Dead Sara. Not only has their debut single "Weatherman" becoming the #1 most requested song at college radio stations across the country, Dead Sara has gotten the seal of approval from rocker legends Grace Slick and Courtney Love and was recently profiled by Rolling Stone dubbing the band as the "L.A. quartet poised to breakout nationally." They will make their first late-night appearance on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live on June 7th.Rapper Justina

As for playing on a tour dominated by men? No worries from Dead Sara. "We're just going to play and do what we do."

"I just think if you're female and you've got the right swag and the right music you're going to stick out even more. So I look at anything that could be a con and make it a pro." says rapper Justina. "I think it's so dope that Kevin incorporated more female acts this year and I just think it's a great thing. I'm so blessed to be rocking with all the other talented artists and to have this opportunity."

Also on hand this night, all the way from New Jersey was female rapper Justina who will be joining the tour for the first time. And like many artists she looks to Warped to give them that big push for their career.

"I feel like Warped Tour is a right of passage. I heard it's a grueling tour and you have to put on a good show," say Justina. "I feel like if you can get through and prove yourself to the fans and you put on a dope live show, I feel like you'll gain that respect and it'll bring you to the next level."

Hip-hop artists are nothing new to Warped Tour. In the past, Eminem, Shwayze, Kid Rock and Yelawolf have graced the stage. This year, New Jersey rapper Justina will make her mark on at least seven dates on the tour. Her raw and stylish rap style infused with pop melodies has landed her songs on television shows such as NBC's "Smash," Vh1's "Mob Wives," Oxygen Network's "Runnin'Russell Simmons" and MTV's "True Life. " And later this month, Justina releases her upcoming mixtape Route 80, named after the stretch of highway that connects Jersey to California which she says holds a lot of memories for her while touring coast-to-coast early in her career. It has been a long road for Justina and finally, Justina's hard work has earned her a spot on the Alternative Press stage during the East Coast leg of the tour.

"Bubble Gum" is the first single off by Justina's mix tape Route 80.

Another L.A. based band excited to play their very first Warped Tour are L.A.-based band Cherri Bomb. Not old enough to drink, this quartet are already tour veterans playing some of the top music festivals in the world (SSMF, Reading Festival, Leeds Festival, Rock en Seine, SXSW and the upcoming Bamboozle) and opening for such powerhouse bands like Foo Fighters, Smashing Pumpkins and Filter. Their debut album This Is The End of Control drops May 15th.

Cherri Bomb
L.A. rockers Cherri Bomb (L-R: Mianda, Julia, Nia and Rena) performs 17 dates on this years' Vans Warped Tour.
photo by picksysticks

Even though Warped will be their most challenging tour as this will be their longest and most grueling tour no one is complaining.

"We've always wanted to go. All our friends go and we never had the chance to but we're happy now because we get to play there," they say. "It's good to be out there. And a lot of kids in our age range who are into that kind of music come. This is the biggest festival in America."

And being an all-female band, they aren't intimidated at all touring with a bunch of guys. "We're so young and we're also girls. We kind of push the boys aside. And also, I think it's just because we're in this for real and we want to break past that mold and that stereotype that just because we're young and teenagers we're just as serious about this. We want to be on the same level as them."

With the music world just discovering Cherri Bomb, even Hollywood is starting to take notice. Their song "Shake The Ground" has been included in The Avengers movie soundtrack alongside the likes of Bush, Soundgarden, Rise Against and Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots.

Warped Tour 2012 begins it's 18th year June 16th and will hit 41 cities throughout North America. Los Angelinos have four chances to catch these bands on tour when Warped stops in Irvine (June 21), Pomona (June 22), Ventura (June 24) and if you can't make those dates, your last chance, if you can make the drive is in San Diego on June 27th.

Check out our photo gallery from the Vans Wapred Tour Kick-Off party including bands The Used, Yellowcard and Falling in Reverse below.

Vans Warped Tour Kick-Off Party photo gallery.
photos by picksysticks

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