I’ve had the luxury of seeing Yellowcard a couple times since they’ve returned from hiatus. I caught them in October 2011 when they were touring for When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes and then this past summer on the Warped Tour main stage. One thing rings true every time – they always deliver. The stacked opening line up only added to my excitement, as it had been about a year and half since I’d seen The Wonder Years.
One of the best surprises of the night came early as Sandlot Heroes took the stage. In fact, the band reminded me of when I saw Every Avenue open for Yellowcard last year, with vocalist Dan Kastelnik having a kind of Southern rock vibe – also not unlike The Maine’s latest material. As expected, they mainly stuck to material from The Trace EP, with tracks like “My Favorite Song” and “Freeway” carrying across very well live. Much of this can be attributed to the help of Chris Morrison and Jake Lare on back up vocals, as their contrast gave Kastelnik’s words a lot more power. This was a set of sing alongs and rocking tunes – nothing too fancy needed, just fun rock music.
I was anxious to see how the young’uns in We Are The In Crowd would sound live, since I missed their set on Warped Tour this past summer. Sure enough, Tay Jardine and crew were incredibly entertaining. The chemistry between Jardine and Jordan Eckes on stage dominates the show, with their call and return being all the more addictive live than on the records (yes, “Kiss Me Again” is what I’m talking about). For being so petite, Jardine can absolutely control the crowd and stand her ground. She never stood still, constantly running across stage to where each member was. There’s a reason why these guys have gotten all this hype over the last couple years – they know exactly what they’re doing.
Our beloved fellas in The Wonder Years took the stage next. What I remember most about seeing these guys for my first time in 2011 was how much energy the guys had. This sentiment reigns true more than ever nowadays. Soupy went from being on his knees to being on top of the crowd to covering every inch of the stage throughout the set. The man is a machine. In fact, every member of the band holds his own, with the opening guitar licks of “Local Man Ruins Everything” starting the set off in a pure riot. As always, the band is all about being personal, so Soupy had interesting ways to tie all of the songs together, incorporating short little anecdotes into the set song after song. The guys even went back to the beginning and tore through “Won’t Be Pathetic Forever,” a crowd favorite for obvious reasons. At first, I found it odd that the set was to end with “Came Out Swinging,” but the I understood – start with an anthem, end with an anthem, right? Full of energy and a hint of chaos, The Wonder Years’ live show deserves all the praise.
As I’d hoped, “Awakening” started off Yellowcard’s almost 2-hour long set. What followed was the perfect mix of everything Yellowcard new and old. New cuts such as “Rivertown Blues” and “Always Summer” sounded massive live, while the little surprises (“Hollywood Died”) had the whole crowd in the air. As always, Ryan Key dominated the mic with his usual grit, while Sean Mackin had a smile on his face the whole night. “Southern Air” was the perfect pre-encore closer – I can’t think of a better song that really defines the entire feel of Yellowcard. Tay Jardine even joined the crew to help out “Here I Am Alive,” which was quite the hit.
Of course, the massive “Ocean Avenue” tore down the house last, while “Breathing” added a huge kick in the night early on. There’s a reason why Yellowcard have been on the move for the better part of the last 12 years – the guys just can’t sit still. This is how a live band is supposed to be – full of pure energy and drive. Yellowcard hold their ground every show, proving exactly why they’ve kept such a prominent legacy over the last decade.
I think what makes their live show so enjoyable is the timeless of it all. Ocean Avenue was one of the first CDs I remember having in my stereo back in the day, yet Southern Air dominated the last summer for me as I was preparing for college. That’s the beauty of Yellowcard – their sound is just classic. The music screams summer, beaches, and sunny days – their live show screams liveliness and a sense of growing restlessness. This is a band that isn’t about to slow down anytime soon, having released two full lengths in the last two years and touring nonstop. Seriously, the guys just won’t slow down.
A tour that brings together both old and new pop-punk, this is a show you can’t forget. Yellowcard’s timeless nature matched with The Wonder Year’s young drive, We Are The In Crowd’s instant likeability, and Sandlot Heroes simply memorable rock tunes. Southern Air has to be one of the best records of the year, and this tour commemorates just this – and why Hopeless Records continues to dominate the scene.
Growing up with Ocean Avenue in constant rotation in my stereo, Yellowcard have always held a special place in my heart. Seeing them on their headlining tour and on Warped Tour reminded me of all these memories.
Well, Southern Air is the accumulation of every Yellowcard release into one powerhouse of a record - think Paper Walls on steroids. There's a level of confidence here that is unmatched by any of their previous material. The opening track is everything we love about YC openers - huge chorus, massive build up, hooks galore.
This record just has it. It's easily the most…powerful and energetic record they've ever done - and I'm saying that after only a week of listening. Never thought they'd top Paper Walls, but Southern Air just feels huge, and it very well may with more listens. There's no other way to describe it.
The guest appearances all add different elements to the record, but the main thing I'm noticing here is how much more powerful the entire band sounds. Mackin's violin defines many moments, while the guitars and drums really affect the melody and mood of the songs - it's a full band effort in the best way yet. And Key has more confidence and power in his voice than ever before, as noted by how varied his range is this time around.
The album has addictive pop-punk tunes with gritty guitars, violin solos, songs that are more "pop" than anything YC have done, and a heartbreaking ballad - it has it all.
Simply put, this record is special. It could easily top Paper Walls as my favorite YC record, given time and experiences that tie memories to it.
August 14th isn't too far away, and Southern Air will surely be the soundtrack to most of our summers.
It’s safe to say I was more excited for Warped Tour this year than I’ve ever. Since I wasn’t able to experience the early 2000s glory years, 2012 was set to be my glory year for Warped Tour. With bands like New Found Glory, Yellowcard, and Taking Back Sunday on the bill, this was the best of the best.
The day started off heavy with Sleeping With Sirens. Having only been a casual listener of their records, I was very interested in how the guys would sound live. Sure enough, Kellin Quinn is even better live than on the record. His stage performance is full of bravado and prowess – he owns the mic. There’s a reason why Sleeping With Sirens is quickly starting to be one of the biggest bands in the scene, as “Do It Now Remember It Later” and “If I’m James Dean, You’re Audrey Hepburn” sounded massive live. Stay on the look out for these guys – they’re taking over the world.
Of Mice & Men were up next, and I was amped to finally see them live. Simply put, Austin Carlile is a maniac. Taking the stage with an American flag raised, the frontman had complete control of the crowd. Surprisingly, the absence of Shayley Bourget didn’t hurt the band at all; Phil Manansala and Alan Ashby helped out with the clean vocals in superb fashion. Carlile’s dad even crowd surfaced during “Second & Sebring.” Frantic and energetic, Of Mice & Men is a band that needs to be experienced live.
After OM&M, I quickly ran over to the “Acoustic Basement” tent to catch Transit’s acoustic set. I only caught the first half of the set, but the guys played a fantastic version of “Long Lost Friends” that had the whole tent singing along. Something about an acoustic guitar just fits Joe Boynton’s vocals perfectly. The “Acoustic Basement” stage is easily one of the coolest things about Warped this year, as it allows for a special environment, different than the norm of the tour. It’s intimate and inviting, so definitely check it out if you get the chance, especially if Transit is playing.
I unfortunately had to cut Transit’s set short to head back to the main stage for Yellowcard. This year marked the first time Yellowcard have been at Warped in many years, so this was definitely one for the books. Having already seen them live this year, I knew what to expect from the boys – and they of course delivered. From the always-memorable guitar on the opening “Breathing” to the last words of the classic “Ocean Avenue,” this was Warped Tour at its finest, and a blast from the past at that. The guys were full of more confidence than ever before, so it shouldn’t be any wonder why Southern Air sounds massive in every sense of the word.
After YC, I ran to catch what I could of Senses Fail, having never seen them live. Buddy Nielsen sounded incredible live (he absolutely destroyed “War Paint”). “Calling All Cars” and “Buried A Lie” really brought back memories of why I fell in love with this type of music in the first place. If you’re looking for a band that just knows how to rock, hit up the Senses Fail set and scream your lungs out. Senses Fail have yet to release an unmemorable record in ten years, and their live performance really echoes this.
I made sure to see Every Time I Die next, because quite frankly, their live show is insane. Keith Buckley is an absolute madman on stage – and off stage, as he roared on top of the crowd throughout the set. Ripping into “No Son Of Mine,” ETID’s set was as intense as you’d expect. “Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space” sounds even better live, with Buckley’s range dominating every second. This is a band that knows exactly what fans came to see – and they put on the show you’ve always imagined seeing. Mic swinging, crowd surfing, and furious screaming all dominate the set, leaving no room for mercy or reserve, just rock music.
I headed to the California decked out stage to see Pierce The Veil next. They had the biggest crowd they’ve ever had, so it’s safe to say the set was quite a treat. Kicking off with “Besitos,” Fuentes and crew sound even better live on the record, every time. The ax-men make the show all the more exciting, commanding the fret board while spinning guitars over their head song after song. “Bulletproof Love” was exceptionally inciting live, while “King for a Day” really showed the band’s growth since I’d seen them in 2010. Unfortunately, Kellin Quinn couldn’t make an appearance, because he flew home right after SWS’ set to see his newborn daughter – I think it’s safe to say he gets Warped Tour’s Father of the Year award. Having a girl come up to be serenaded with “Yeah Boy and Doll Face” and “Finishing with “Caraphernelia,” Pierce The Veil really put on a show, easily being one of the most memorable acts of the day.
After this set, I went back to my childhood to see New Found Glory, who sure enough opened with my childhood anthem “All Downhill From Here.” Clad in matching NFG uniforms and sporting their “Pop Punk’s Not Dead” backdrop, New Found Glory were in their element in every way possible. Sticking namely to old tracks – “Hit Or Miss,” Understatement,” “Something I Call Personality” were ideal cuts – the Pop-Punk Godfathers stayed true to their roots, even quickly covering “Basket Case.” There’s a reason New Found Glory still dominate the pop-punk scene, and yelling out the words to “My Friends Over You” at Warped Tour makes it clear why.
I traveled to the other main stage to finish the day off with All Time Low. It was my first time seeing them live, but I can understand why people compare their stage banter to that of Blink. Jack was sporting a “Boner” t-shirt, while the guys continuously had girls throwing bras up on stage to them. They were comical and entertaining, while their music sounded even better live than on the record, especially “The Reckless and the Brave” and “Time Bomb.” Their live performance just allows for more energy and youth. They did play “Jasey Rae” thankfully, making their set one for old and new fans. As one of the biggest bands in the scene today, All Time Low’s live show is one for the books.
Seeing all those bands – although I did miss Taking Back Sunday and Make Do And Mend – made me fully aware why I love music so much. It was my 2004, my glory year of Warped Tour. Growing up on Ocean Avenue and Catalyst made seeing bands like Yellowcard and New Found Glory play the main stage make me aware of why I fell in love with this music in the first place – it brings fans together on a scorching hot day in the sun to experience music. All the great bands playing the two main stages alone make this year’s Warped Tour worth going to, so get going.
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Yellowcard with Go Radio and Every Avenue – House Of Blues in Dallas, TX on November 13, 2011
Growing up with Ocean Avenue constantly in my stereo, Yellowcard have really meant a lot to me throughout the years. With Paper Walls being a monumental record for them and When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes being a wonderful return, the guys continuously prove why they still have such a name for themselves. Therefore, when I found out about their show, I couldn’t wait to attend. Likewise, my love for Go Radio – it was my second time seeing them this year – and Every Avenue made my anticipation for the show grow even greater. Go Radio started the night relatively early, but they didn’t waste any time. Sticking mainly to Lucky Street cuts, Lancaster and crew tore through the set list. As full of energy and excitement as ever, the band was incredibly entertaining, as expected. Racing through “Kill The Beast” and slowing down with the beautiful “Goodnight Moon” – joined by Yellowcard’s Sean Mackin on violin for that one – Go Radio really killed it. They even played their energetic cover of “Rolling in the Deep,” demonstrating Lancaster’s vocal abilities first hand.
Every Avenue followed with their Southern rock swag. Opening with “Tie Me Down,” the fellow Fearless band were quite a blast live. Other Bad Habits numbers such as “Whatever Happened To You” and the mellow “Only Place I Call Home” proved the skill of vocalist David Strauchman on the stage. The guys were amped up and ready to rock, finishing with the addictive “Tell Me I’m A Wreck” to a crowd belting out the hooks.
After an impressive light show and intro, Yellowcardtook the stage. Simply put, the crowd went nuts the whole time, as it was the first tour Yellowcard have headlined in six years. Opening with “For You, And Your Denial,” Yellowcard played over 20 songs – just about a two hour long set. The guys knew exactly what the fans wanted to hear, playing various hits from all their records – and even some surprises (yes I mean you “Avondale”).
“Only One” had the whole crowd absolutely screaming their lungs out with Key, while the poignant “Empty Apartment” and “Sing For Me” – which Key played alone, acoustically – were sentimental and intricate. LP also played an impressive drum solo piece in there, as well. Although being such a long set, Yellowcard never lost an ounce of energy, being as fun and amped up as ever, with a crowd that couldn’t wait for the next song.
Key came into the crowd multiple times, while Mackin, Mendez, and O’Donnell were incredibly amusing on the stage – talkative, friendly, and excited. Older cuts such as “Breathing” and of course “Way Away” were colossal, while the rare “Cut Me, Mick” and new “See Me Smiling” really brought everything together, making the whole show really timeline Yellowcard’s discography in brilliant fashion. The set list couldn’t have been better.
Playing not one but four encores, the guys made it clear that this was a show all about reuniting for the fans – that the band is centered around the fans. Finishing with the huge “Ocean Avenue,” Yellowcard could not have played a stronger set or show. The show proved all the more that Yellowcard are still just as young and lively as ever – not that that should be a surprise to anyone.
Easily one of the most memorable nights of my life, I cannot recommend seeing this show any more. From the stellar opening bands to the absolutely monumental performance by Yellowcard, the night was an absolute blast for everyone.
Got the new Yellowcard record, When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes, in the mail today.
Listened to it twice so far; it's such a great record. Perfect continuation from where YC left off with Paper Walls. The record makes it sound as if the band never took a break at all - it's that natural. When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes is simply everything we've all been waiting for, and more.
As always, Key's vocals are fantastic. And man is great to hear that violin again.
Good God, Yellowcard's upcoming single, "For You, And Your Denial" is freaking great. Cannot wait to hear the record. AP, you're in for a treat when the single drops the 18th. When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes drops March 22nd.