Warped Tour is becoming harder and harder to accurately describe as the years go on, but if there’s anything I have in common with Blink-182 circa the release of Take Off Your Pants and Jacket in 2001, it’s my yearly excitement for the festival.
In 2017, Warped has become a jumbled concoction of quintessential scene bands, older punk outfits and the usual smattering of up-and-coming groups with a few albums to their name. Juxtaposed against names like the Adolescents and Hawthorne Heights is Counterparts, one of the newer metalcore giants. With only three albums and a fourth on the way, Counterparts are currently on their first run with the Warped Tour playing the Mutant North stage. The Daily had the opportunity to talk to the band’s frontman Brendan Murphy before the start of Warped about being first-timers on the tour and the band’s plans for the future.
Murphy is overwhelmingly positive about the massive tour (save his evident hatred for the summer heat): “I feel like the only real cons of Warped Tour are just the fact that you’ll be outside in the summer. The amount of pros that you get from it — like the fact that there’s gonna be a minimum like 10,000 people there every day, you get to hang out with your friends all summer, you get to meet people that you normally wouldn’t meet. It’s not like just one tour, like ‘Oh Counterparts are touring with Stray From The Path and Hundredth again, shocker.’ There’s actually diversity.”
The frontman couldn’t be more right. Admittedly a former (alright, probably current) scene kid like myself was thoroughly surprised by the diversity of this year’s lineup. Featuring bands that reach into the ‘80s and ‘90s, hip-hop artists and inventive modern day punks were enough to give me a shock. From Detroit’s very own heavy punks The Suicide Machines to modern math rock shredders Dance Gavin Dance, Warped truly outdid themselves with artist diversity.
Another favorable facet of Warped is spending time with your friends. The past few years attending the festival, I’ve found it impossible to avoid seeing friends wandering among the masses, or finding them just as sweaty in a mosh pit. This is a sentiment shared with the artists on tour, who are equally as excited to be hanging with friends and oftentimes past tour mates all summer long.
“I’m moreso stoked to just see all my friends. A lot of the bands that we’ve toured with are on the Tour already — it’s like ‘Yeah you guys are sick but I just want to hang out.’ Obviously the main stage, it’ll be cool seeing friends in Neck Deep playing to what I imagine will be thousands and thousands of people, and really anyone. There’s not really many bands I’m not stoked on,” Murphy said.
Murphy mentioned that he’s stoked to be playing alongside heavy-hitters Knocked Loose perform all summer — “I’m excited to see Knocked Loose every day. I think they’re probably my favorite band playing Warped Tour,” he admitted. Both Counterparts and Knocked Loose have been welcomed by an explosion in popularity amongst the general punk scene over the past year. Having seen both bands multiple times, their fans consistently show incredible dedication and energy to screaming every song while twirling along in the pits. At their most recent Detroit show, Counterparts opened for early 2000s favorite Senses Fail, and fans of both bands showed equal dedication, proving Counterparts relatively quick rise within the scene.
The band was also planning to cater their set to the energy of Warped Tour, whose crowds are seemingly ignited rather than drained by the mid-summer heat. A crowd in front of a band as heavy and talented as Counterparts is certain to be ready to rumble on the pavement.
“We’re going to play like eight songs that people are actually excited for. The eight that are just bangers, like no filler stuff. We’re going to go up there, do our thing, get off stage and hopefully, if people are watching us for the first time, they’ll be like, ‘You know what, there wasn’t a part of that set that I didn’t think was cool so I’m gonna go check that band out or I’m gonna go grab a CD’ or whatever it is. I hope that’s the case,” Murphy added.
Murphy also keeps in mind their longtime fans when discussing the inclusion of new music in their set: “And also the people who do actually give a shit already, if they’re into it then that’s the real goal.”
Looking to expand their fan base further, the band is taking full advantage of the invaluable opportunity of Warped — one that allows bands of less mainstream popularity to perform in front of vastly larger audiences than which they are accustomed. A prime example of this is PUP, who I first saw perform to approximately 250 people at Warped in 2015; now, they’re playing massive festivals across the country including Mo Pop on Detroit’s riverfront next week.
Beyond Warped Tour, Murphy is looking forward to the future of the band, who’s slated to release their fourth record, You’re Not You Anymore, in September of this year. They have multiple tours planned already, and if the past is any indication, their hard work is beginning to noticeably pay off — assuming they survive the heat of Warped that is.
“Let’s hope we don’t all get heatstroke and die or something like that and actually make it to next year,” Murphy joked after detailing the band’s exciting plans.