Nathan Percy

Warped Tour @ OC Great Park – 06/21/2012

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The 18th Annual Vans Warped Tour blazed a trail through Southern California this past week, making stops in Irvine, Pomona and Ventura and inviting the masses to see talent galore across seven stages.

After last year’s hardcore infested main stage, the tour made an effort to go back to it’s punk rock roots by putting some big names on the two main stages.

Taking Back Sunday, The Used, Yellowcard and New Found Glory replaced last year’s lineup of A Day To Remember, The Devil Wears Prada, August Burns Red and Attack Attack!.

In fact, across all stages, the heavier bands were absent, leaving Every Time I Die, Pierce The Veil and Of Mice and Men, among a few others.

While the harder bands were confined to one stage, aptly named the Monster Energy Stage, the two Kia stages were reserved for bands that helped the tour become what it is today, as well as some others that continued to rise, including Breathe Carolina, For Today and Streetlight Manifesto.

Smaller stages also housed some surprising talented artists, such as Dead Sara, Matt Toka, Skinny Lister and Skip the Foreplay.

Dead Sara combined rock with a slight Janis Joplin feel that worked the crowd into a frenzy, while England’s Skinny Lister brought a folksy sound and played to the crowd. Matt Toka’s punk style brought fans back to when Warped Tour initially started as the small stage crowd grew as the set went on.

All-in-all, the Warped Tour worked crowds into a frenzy in Irvine’s OC Great Park as the Kia Rio Main Stage kicked off with All Time Low and finished with The Used.

New Found Glory and Yellowcard highlighted the Kia Soul Stage with energetic sets that kept the crowd hot when temperatures finally started to dip.

On a day where everything ran so smoothly that no one cared if set times ran just a little off, the only complaint here, as usual for the Warped Tour, was the stage set up as the two biggest stages were on complete opposite sides of the venue, coupled with the fact that the venue wasn’t as deep as usual and very spread out from side-to-side.

But such a minor blip couldn’t bring down the energy that Orange County’s fans brought to Irvine, as the much-improved lineup exceeded expectations.

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