Yellowcard Nile Theater 1/18/14
Attending Yellowcard's show on Saturday night at the Nile made me realize just how old I'm getting -- and I was one of the youngest persons there. Along with a crowd of 20-somethings, 30-somethings, and a few teens, I was celebrating the tenth anniversary of Yellowcard's landmark Ocean Avenue album, which -- like many -- I first listened to after it first dropped in 2003. So you can bet this was a bit of a nostalgia trip for me and many others in attendance.
Yellowcard played through Ocean Avenue in its entirety during a completely acoustic set, keeping the crowd pretty mellowed out. Everyone was just standing while swaying and enjoying the music, since there weren't really any flat-out headbang-worthy moments.
But it was nice, and I'm sure was a bit of an initial relief for lead singer Ryan Key, who unfortunately was sick and losing his voice.
He was a trooper nonetheless and gave it his all throughout the night and still sounded great regardless of the sore throat.
His illness didn't stop his bandmates from going all out, though. While Key managed to stay basically in one place, violinist Sean Mackin, guitarist Ryan Mendez (who hails from Tempe), and bassist Josh Portman were all over the stage getting the crowd pumped and singing along. And "Ocean Avenue" was the song that really got the crowd started as people moving a bit more and clapping to the beat.
Things slowed down when the band played "Empty Apartment," nixing the bass and the drums and making it one of the more intimate and emotional moments of the night. Mackin later performed a violin solo, something the crowd especially dug, which is one of the traits that sets Yellowcard apart from most pop-punk bands.
After ending their run-through of Ocean Avenue with "Back Home," Key told us they were taking a quick break and would then come back out and melt our faces off. And melt our faces off they did.
No more acoustic performances. No more Ryan standing in one place. It had now become an headbanging, moshing, and crowd-surfing Yellowcard concert that we all knew and loved. They began with "Paper Walls" to get the crowd warmed up. And when "You and Your Denial" started, the mosh pit formed. By the third song, "Awakening," it had become a battle between crowd-surfers and the security guards who had to push them away from the stage. It was pretty funny to watch and I had an excellent view of the sideshow in progress.
Toward the end of the show, Mackin promised us he would do a backflip if we formed a mosh pit the size of the room. And the crowd delivered. People were running in a circle that covered almost the entire length and width of the Nile's main room. We didn't get a backflip, though. I suppose it was fine because we did get an awesome drum solo from Longineu "LP" Parsons right before ending the night with one last quick reprise of "Ocean Avenue," one of Yellowcard's most famed songs.
Key was afraid he was going to let us down with his voice slowly going out, but he had nothing to worry about, because it was a concert worthy of much applause.