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If at first you don't succeed, add a few more headliners.

Warped Tour 2012 started out with a decent line-up, though not necessarily anything to write home about. That was until they pulled out their secret weapons. The newly added arsenal included the likes of The Used, Yellowcard, Taking Back Sunday, and New Found Glory. Each band definitely no stranger to Warped, yet each having the ability to bring in audiences from teen to, well, those of us a little older.
So between the bbq's and golf outings of Father's Day, a few thousand or so people braved the heat and took in some music.

A few moments were spent starting the day off with Senses Fail and their hardcore punk. A 30 minute set is perfect for punk music, with its quick tempos and psycho melodies, because as soon as you absorbed one song, they're onto the next. But Buddy (vocals) never does anything half way; by the third number he had the audience shouting along to the lyrics.

When searching for shade at Warped there's never a shortage of tents to choose from. But it was just pure luck that the tent we chose contained one Anthony Raneri, otherwise known as lead singer for Bayside. He was prepping for a solo acoustic set. And so we sat and enjoyed a set of melodies and peppy vocals. Songs like "Sandra Partial" came as a happy-go-lucky alternative to the rest of the day. Anthony's voice transformed from a pop-punk anarchist to an indie rock poet and it was perfect.

Hearing that Taking Back Sunday was going to be at Warped was one of the main reasons I went. I had not yet had the opportunity to see the new "old" line-up in action. But sure enough, they were all there. Adam, John, Eddie, Shaun, and Mark took the stage as if they had done it a million times before. And well, they had. Needless to say a hint of skepticism was surrounding the band; I mean, how many times can one group change a line-up? But the moment "Error Operator" growled out with that lead guitar, suddenly it didn't matter. From there it only got better. It's like the band knew Louder Now was my favorite album. "Liar (It Takes One To Know One)" was the song that brought out the real fans. Even after six years, the mixture of harmonies and seamless lite-punk guitar progressions were perfection. And if that wasn't enough, they jumped back a couple more albums for the hit "Cute Without The 'E'". The understated riffs and percussion heavy rhythms brought back memories of early TBS. So far, the new "old" line-up is doing pretty good.

For a complete 180 we jumped over to Denver band Breathe Carolina. I would've never guessed a rave could break out in the middle of a Sunday afternoon topping off at 105 degrees. But that's exactly what happened when they took the stage. Having only heard their radio hit "Blackout" I was not prepared for the complete DJ-based set. Then again the appeal of the music was obviously the break-dancing synths and cyber-tech computer effects. It was like 3OH!3 part 2, except this time every single song was primed and ready for the club.

To end our evening we took in a set by New Found Glory. If I'm not mistaken NFG has been rocking the stages of Warped since the time they had an "A", a letter which dropped from their name in 2001 with the release of their second album and an album from which they pulled a song or two for this set. "Hit Or Miss" is one of the first songs I ever heard from NFG and hearing it live again was awesome. A story of love and loss set to pop-punk vocals and simplistic yet distinctive chord progressions. The other highlights of the half hour came from Sticks And Stones. "I'm sick of smiling and so is my jaw," a set of lyrics that, while not ground-breaking, brought an instant smile across the faces of the crowd. Then there was "Understatement" which is an example of what New Found Glory does best - make pop-punk songs with extremely catchy lyrics and mosh-pit inducing jams. After "Something I Call A Personality" came the end of the set and "My Friends Over You". Between a proclamation of independence and a harmony of notes on the lower end of the guitar neck, another mosh pit broke out. Considering the plethora of newer albums to choose from, it was a nice surprise to have a set averaging six years old.

Was this a hint that the organizers of Warped realize that sometimes you need a headliner or 5 in order to truly bring in the crowds? Or did we all get lucky this year? Guess we'll see.

-Rachel Fredrickson

Warped Tour
June 17th, 2012
Sports Authority Field, Denver, CO

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