COLUMBIA, MD: Warped Tour at Merriweather Post Pavilion. July 10, 2013. © Brandon Wu / for the Washington City Paper.

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The Vans Warped Tour is a bit of a strange beast, with something like 90 bands spread out across seven stages over the course of about seven hours. Catering to a teenage demographic means the tour is now made up largely of pop-punk, hardcore, and metalcore bands, with a few hard-edged EDM and hip-hop acts thrown in. Many of these bands are pretty obscure, and spend every non-performing minute of the tour promoting themselves and making new fans.

I sampled from the 90 bands largely at random, but mostly avoided the amphitheater stage and the bigger, better-known groups. My favorite performance was unquestionably the last band I saw, Japanese “future metal” group Crossfaith, who combine tech-metal, prog, electronica, and the most insanely energetic stage presence I witnessed (which is really saying something at a festival like this).

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