By Greg Cohen
Yellowcard are sellouts…..in a good way. The band launched its Fall 2015 co-headlining tour with New Found Glory on October 8, 2015 at the LiveWire in Scottsdale, AZ. LiveWire holds 1,100 and the show was sold out (making them sell-outs – see how I did that).
It’s hard to ignore the similarities between New Found Glory and Yellowcard. Both got their start in 1997/98. Both originated in Florida. Both were early entrants in the pop-punk genre. Both recently separated from a founding/long time band member. Both released their most recent albums in October 2014. Both feature a punk-rocking violinist. Fine, only Yellowcard has a violinist, but it’s still hard to ignore the many similarities between these two bands that make them perfect compliments to each other on a double bill. Despite these similarities, however, Yellowcard’s vocalist and guitarist Ryan Key says that the two bands have toured together in Japan and Europe but have never previously toured together in the United States.
Their Scottsdale show launched their 2015 U.S. tour that will include 33 shows in 45 days. Yellowcard is touring in support of Lift a Sale, its ninth studio album which was released last year in October 2014.
While Yellowcard is most often described as being in the pop-punk genre, it clearly is more comfortable on the pop side with more melodic, radio friendly songs. That positioning was also reflected in Key’s chatty style and easy banter with the crowd. (continued below photos)
Photos © 2015 Greg Cohen
A violin’s place in rock is an interesting one. It is a delicate and melodic instrument that sometimes seems to have a hard time finding its place (or competing with) among the more powerful electric guitars. Sean Mackin, however, has no problem at all making it work within the context of Yellowcard’s music. He hits all the right notes at the right time to set just the right mood within each song. Instead of competing with the guitar, he plays as a counterpoint to it. And his big grin and energy throughout Yellowcard’s set was infectious.
Key is a tremendous performer. As mentioned above, his chatty banter with the crowd makes it feel like he’s everyone’s bud, at least for the evening. He does a nice job of drawing the audience in and making them feel like not only do they know all the lyrics to the next song – but they are an integral part of the song. He makes it feel like without the audience participating the song wouldn’t be nearly as meaningful. And the audience responded by singing along as loudly and impassioned as they could.
Those fans who came primarily to see Yellowcard got exactly what they wanted – the band’s big hits plus a deeper dive into Yellowcard’s catalog to pull out songs that may have received more critical success than radio success. Yet almost everyone in the audience seemed to know every word to every song Yellowcard played regardless of how much commercial success or radio airplay a song may have received.
And did I mention that both bands lend themselves to a very similar, very positive review.