“The Scene” is as nebulous a term as they come, but for purposes of this article, we’re going to define it as such:

   • The culture in which AP has been firmly entrenched for the past decade-plus that has a strong overlap with Warped Tour, as well as similar festivals/events like Taste Of Chaos, Riot Fest, etc.

So what defines “breaking out” of said scene? Glad you asked. Our criteria were as follows:

   • Significant commercial success (at least one Gold record or Gold single)

   • Mainstream radio/video play (Top 40, TRL, heavy rotation on satellite radio)

   • Longevity (10-plus years in the game) with minimal low periods (i.e., hiatus/breakup)

Basically, if there’s a possibility your mom might have heard a song by one of these bands, that’s a qualifier. So let’s get into it!


Let’s start off with the obvious: New Found Glory have never even attempted to distance themselves from their pop-punk and hardcore roots, even when their music took them in more rock-based directions (i.e., Coming Home). They have three Gold records on their wall and have headlined arenas in the past, but they still take tiny-as-hell bands out on tour to play in front of what are surely those up-and-comers’ biggest, most enthusiastic crowds ever.


They’ve collaborated with everyone from Lil Wayne to Sir Elton John(!) but Fall Out Boy will always be four hardcore kids from Chicago at heart, which is why their fans have stuck by their side through thick and thin. There’s a reason why FOB are still able to pack in upwards of 20,000 people a night, and it’s because they still keep it real.


Paramore are celebrating their 10th year of existence this year, and it’s absolutely insane how far they’ve come, from Hayley Williams playing acoustic on the side stage at Taste Of Chaos to their most recent massive co-headlining tour with Fall Out Boy. The band have had more than their fair share of struggle, which makes the success of “Ain’t It Fun” all the more sweet, because these three earned it.


As I was writing this, Davey Havok and Jade Puget announced the release date for the debut album from their new straight-edge hardcore band XTRMST. If that doesn’t prove that this band—with multiple Platinum records to their name, who once played the goddamn gigantic Live Earth festival—have their belief systems and ethics still in check, I don’t know what else will.


There’s no debate: Green Day have kept it real for 20-plus years and just about as many million records sold. They play spur-of-the-moment secret shows in tiny clubs; they have multiple side projects to indulge their geekier (the Network) and rock ’n’ roll-ier (Foxboro Hottubs) sides; they record three albums’ worth of material and release all of it because who cares if they’re saturating the marketplace when they’re having fun?


Sure, they were inactive for a healthy portion of the 2000s, but when these multi-platinum pop-punk jokers reunited, they didn’t forget which side of the bread was buttered: A veritable who’s-who of Warped Tour All-Stars was tapped to open their reunion tour (including Fall Out Boy, Taking Back Sunday and Panic! At The Disco), and the trio have continued to keep it real, enlisting everyone from Manchester Orchestra to Against Me! to play in front of some pretty fucking massive crowds.


ADTR are the newest band on this list, but have more than proven their dedication to the scene, even after scoring some pretty massive crossover success with their last few albums. The band still find time to drop in on Warped Tour, in between playing to gargantuan crowds of their own from coast to coast.


I caught Rise Against’s most recent headlining tour a few weeks ago in Cleveland. The opening acts were LA hardcore unit Touché Amoré and unsigned throwback-punk trio Radkey—not the kind of acts that really help move tickets. But Rise Against have never put much stock in playing it safe, instead embracing the fact that they somehow lucked into crossing over into the radio-rock world and consistently are pushing their audience to think, discover and expand their horizons beyond what the mainstream has force-fed them, whether that’s music or politics. Rise Against are as real as it gets, folks.


They’re three-time Warped Tour vets. They’ve taken Thursday, Thrice, the Fall Of Troy, Glassjaw, Sparta and tons of others out on tour. They’ve headlined Taste Of Chaos. Oh yeah, and they’ve also sold about 5 million records, and they are in the playlists of thousands of nü-metal mooks worldwide—but let’s not hold that last thing against them.


Yeah, some of their fans might be positively unbearable to deal with in the month of March, but that’s only because Dropkick Murphys have spent nearly two decades creating the culture surrounding their barroom-brawler punk band. Landing their song in The Departed doesn’t change the fact that DKM are still as punk as they come.


The dude has had insane amounts of success with Dashboard Confessional yet has no problem taking time off to reassemble his old emo band Further Seems Forever for a killer reunion record, just because he can. And let’s not forget his always-primo choices for cover songs, ranging from Weezer to Cory Branan. Plus his new band, Twin Forks, are a perfect distillation of what we wish the nü-folk movement sounded like all the time. Dude writes hooks like a motherfucker, is likely a millionaire a few times over and still has no problem standing in the crowd and cheering on the opening acts. Respect.


Did you know Tim Armstrong wrote songs for Pink and had a song in a shampoo commercial? Did you also know Tim Armstrong is one of the most legit dudes in the history of punk rock? Rancid have headlined Warped Tour thrice, toured the world countless times, sold a few million records and still proudly pledge allegiance to the East Bay which birthed them. They’ve triumphed over a member defection, a divorce or two and even cancer. Cancer! So yeah, nothing is ever going to stop Rancid from being one of the biggest and most legitimate bands in punk rock, especially not that snippy comment you’re going to leave on this article.

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