Looking back, moving forward
Yellowcard returns to Boston with ten years’ worth of music and plenty of energy to spare
House of Blues
November 18, 2012
On Sunday, November 18, Yellowcard played before a sold-out crowd in the Boston House of Blues after performances from special guests The Wonder Years and We Are the In Crowd. The concert lasted nearly two hours and consisted of a twenty-song setlist, three of which were performed during the encore.
The entire performance exploded with energy. Throughout the night, frontman Ryan Key shouted into the microphone — sometimes jumping onto the table on stage — as members of the audience crowd surfed over the closely packed mosh pit. Shoes and voices were lost as people jumped up and down, singing along at the tops of their lungs and waving their arms high over their heads.
After having been together since 2000, the band released their eighth studio album Southern Air earlier this year, peaking at #10 on The Billboard 200. The concert opened with “Awakening” and “Surface of the Sun” from the new album. Then going back to their earlier tracks, Yellowcard followed with “Way Away” and “Breathing” from Ocean Avenue (2003), as well as “Shrink The World” and “Light Up the Sky” from Paper Walls (2007). Around the middle of the set, Ryan Key and Longineu Parsons performed an acoustic cover of “I Will Wait” by Mumford & Sons, allowing the crowd to take a break. “We don’t usually do covers because we don’t like to conform,” Key said, “I mean, we have a violinist.”
Yellowcard, famous for featuring the violin in their punk-rock sound, made sure to highlight this element in concert. They played one of the most signature violin-featuring tracks, “Believe,” from Ocean Avenue, in which a frenzied violin solo opens the piece before the loud bass joins in. Sean Mackin, the violinist who wrote all of their orchestral chords, even backflipped on stage while starting their next track, “Lights and Sounds.”
The concert was at points emotional for longtime fans. Key talked about the band’s 2008–2010 hiatus (indefinite at the time) before performing the song “Hang You Up” from their 2011 record When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes. “During those two years I really just wrote this one song,” he said, referring to the lyrics “you’re all I think of” and “I hang you up and then I pull you down.” “We needed some time apart,” Key admitted, but emphasized that it was good to be back. In the second song of the encore, Key performed “Here I Am Alive” with Tay Jardine (of We are in the Crowd), describing the struggles that he and the band have gone through: “They say you don’t grow up you just grow old / It’s safe to say I haven’t done both / I made mistakes / I know I know / But here I am alive.”
Standing in the crowd was deafening as Yellowcard played their 2003 hit “Only One” from Ocean Avenue and their newest album’s title track “Southern Air,” a reference to their Florida roots. After the band unplugged and left the stage, thousands of voices screamed “one more song” and “Yellowcard” before the band returned to play three more songs, ending with their most well-known song to date, “Ocean Avenue.”
The band we knew from a decade ago has certainly changed. After their reunion, the band left Capitol Records and signed with Hopeless Records, an indie label that has also signed pop punk band All Time Low, with whom Yellowcard toured with a few times. However, their music has matured but not aged, expanding to a new dimension of complexity and gaining more fans. “In one year we have doubled the number of people that are coming out to see us,” Key said. “So thank you.”