Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman kicked off his yearly festival Thursday with a press conference and concert at LA Live’s Club Nokia on Thursday. The festival which has been running yearly since 1995 will begin on June 16th in Salt Lake City, UT and work its way across the country with 4 stops in Southern California at the end of June ( 6/21 – Irvine, 6/22 – Pomona, 6/24 – Ventura, and 6/27 – San Diego).

Thursday’s festivities included a brief press conference where Lyman introduced some of the artists who will be performing on this years tour followed by a screening of the documentary “No Room for Rockstars.” The screening was immediately followed by brief sets from several of the 2012 bands.

Opening the performance portion of the night were the subjects of the documentary Forever Came Calling, followed by the standout performance by Matt Toka. Toka will definitely be one of the artists to watch on this years tour, his set was highly energetic, his music was fresh and returned to the old school punk flavor as opposed to the normal scream-o music the tour has been showcasing the past few years.

Veteran rockers Yellowcard took the stage to mixed reaction – most in attendance were very excited, while one fan apparently was not, which lead to a verbal beating by vocalist “Ryan Key.” Key instructed the upset attendee to “Not be a dick” and to go outside and wait if he didn’t want to listen, because most in attendance were excited and ready to rock. The band played a brief acoustic set which had everyone singing along.  Up next were newcomers Dead Sara who put on a pretty entertaining set consisting of their current single “Weatherman” which is getting quite a bit of airtime on local stations.

Lyman announced the next band as the worse kept “surprise” of the night. Many in attendance already had figured out that The Used would be performing. Bert McCracken and company took the stage and powered through a quick four song set, which had the crowd chearing “One More Song” – unfortunately the band didn’t oblige.

Headliners for the night was none other than  Falling in Reverse. Lead vocalist Ronnie Radke lead his band through the nights longest set consisting of most of the songs off their initial Epitaph records release “The Drug in Me Is You.”

As in the past the Warped Tour Kick-off party is an event not to be missed and has everyone excited for the upcoming summer jaunt across the United States. Tickets are available for all dates now at http://vanswarpedtour.com/dates

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