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AA Show Review: Yellowcard

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As Yellowcard says goodbye with their final few shows, Hayley Lind caught the show at the PlayStation Theater in New York.

I was 10 years old when Yellowcard’s album, “Ocean Avenue,” came out in 2003. The eponymous song was probably the definitive soundtrack of middle school dance parties in the early 2000’s. This past June, the pop-punk outfit announced their breakup and a farewell tour. The band, consisting of violinist Sean Mackin, guitarist Ryan Mendez, bassist Josh Portman, and vocalist Ryan Key began their “Final World Tour,” on October 6. I went to New York City’s PlayStation Theater on November 9 to see my last—and nostalgically bittersweet—Yellowcard show. The show opened with New Jersey-based band DryJacket and Swedish group, Like Torches. DryJacket performed first, sporting plaid flannel shirts and laid-back attitudes. They played a half hour of mellow guitar riffs and soft vocals, but the percussion was what dominated each song. The drummer, on a copper SJC drum kit, played fast-paced drum paradiddles and heavy cymbals and threw in some bells and cowbell. The indie rock band will release their first CD this coming January on Hopeless Records. Swedish Alternative rock band Like Torches was next, delivering upbeat pop rock that echoed All Time Low and Real Friends. The band’s jovial mood and jokes about their native country engaged the audience, while their love for music showed through their high-energy performance. After some anxious foot tapping and flashes blinding white lights, Yellowcard finally hit the stage. Instead of decorating the stage with a traditional tour banner, six large streamers hung from the ceiling, featuring three different “YC” logos from different albums, two X’s and one with “2017” written on it. They symbolized the band’s past and future—the band will play its final few shows in the UK and California through March. “We’re here to sing some songs and say goodbye,” said lead singer Ryan Key when he entered the stage. Yellowcard played songs off each album, but many were either from their iconic Ocean Avenue, or Yellowcard, their latest and final release. The band alternated between upbeat songs and acoustic versions, but each track still maintained the band’s signature pop-punk sound. Perhaps the most emotional track of the night was the acoustic, two-instrument version of “Sing for Me,” which Key wrote about his aunt Stephanie, who died of cancer. “Maybe we can sing this loud enough so she can hear,” he said. Key played the lullaby-like melody on keyboard, while Mackin joined in on violin. Key’s passion showed through his storytelling, his soft vocals and the beautiful combination of notes. Sad song aside, the concert’s general atmosphere was infiltrated with positive energy. Fans clapped, waved their arms and pounded their fists into the air as they sang and danced along to each and every Yellowcard song. The band was just as excited, and ran all around the stage with smiles on their faces. “This is in the running for best New York City show of all time,” Key said. Even for a fan that only knew the older songs, the concert was thoroughly enjoyable. The crowd was energetic, but not too wild, and the band was emotional and humbled to be playing to the sold-out crowd. This was truly an unforgettable show that accomplished what music should do: provide an escape from reality. This may be the band’s final tour, but they will continue to have an impact on alternative music. As Key sings in the song, “A Place We Set A Fire,” “We don’t have to say goodbye, but we can get lost in time.”