Review: Yellowcard at Summit, 6/15/11
Runner Runner • Saving Verona
06.15.11 | Summit Music Hall
At this point, if you're a Yellowcard fan, it is probably due to longevity. The crowd last night at the Summit Music Hall reflected this notion exactly, and in the best way possible -- though there were plenty of under-21 faces at the foot of the stage, a big portion of the audience was there because they had been with the band all along.
Opening the evening was Saving Verona, a cute and modest three-piece from Denver. They were nervous but grateful, staying close together on stage because the amount of gear awaiting the following acts took up most of the space. Jutting their way through a short set, the dudes were a visual step back into Warped Tour history, dressed in short hair, long shorts and gas station shirts.
Not long after the local act left the stage, Huntington Beach, California's Runner Runner appeared as Thin Lizzy's "The Boys Are Back In Town" boomed from the speakers. The quintet immediately began schmoozing with the audience, with singer and Bon Jovi-channeler Ryan Ogren leading his crew through anthemic fist-pumpers like "Unstoppable" and "Hate The Way (I'm Falling For You)." Weirdly, the preening and fanning by band members as they stalked the stage was much more amplified than the music they were actually making.
As if to kill the good time varsity football guy-style party vibe Runner Runner had just created, Orgen announced that the next song was about his soon-to-be wife. But he didn't stop there: Before launching into the exceedingly cheese acoustic number, he talked more and more about being in love and how he wrote the song for her to walk down the aisle to.
As if to flip the coin on the eye-fuckery that was going on just moments before between band and crowd, Orgen took the place over with his embarrassing ode to his future wife's pretty hair and favorite chapstick. The rest of the band wore their instruments like purses, accessorizing the stage with a very believable rock dude look.
Not too long after the pretty gentleman left the stage, the lights again went low and the Samberg and Timberlake classic "Dick In A Box" filled the room. Eventually Yellowcard wandered out, a patient and polite audience finally allowing itself to lose it in excitement. It was obvious that the band's short hiatus was a well-mourned one, because through the venue wasn't quite full, the energy and super love for Yellowcard was apparent.
Opening with "For You, And Your Denial," a track off of its brand new record, the outfit took healthy, happy strides across the stage, smiling and scrunching up their faces in excitement. Bandleader Ryan Key led everyone in big jumps to the beats, violinist Sean Mackin bounding from the drum riser and somehow still gracefully playing his stringed instrument. Songs like "Breathing" and "Fighting" came off with ease, and "Rough Landing, Holly" had Key and Mackin mirroring each other's movements.
Key talked with the audience quite a bit between songs, like he was catching up old friends on the band's life over the last few lost years. "Five Becomes Four" and "With You Around" came through with clarity before the band left Key on stage with just an acoustic guitar for "Empty Apartment." He led the crowd in a sing along, before sweetly instructing them to sing the guitar solo, to which they obliged. The rest of the band filtered back out for "Sing For Me" a melancholic piece about the singer's very ill family member.
Not letting the true sadness sink in, Yellowcard came back into being with "Only One," a few still fairly reserved crowd surfers managing to break through the heads and hands. "Lights And Sounds" signaled a slow exodus, all members eventually leaving the stage again but drummer Longineu Parsons, who launched in a dimly lit drum solo. The crowd cheered for several moments in the murky almost dark before the rest of the band returned to finish.
The encore began with "Hang You Up" before Runner Runner guitarist Pete Munters joined the band on stage for the old track, "October Nights." Saving the best for last, Yellowcard showed their ultimate gratitude to fans with an explosive and awesome version of "Ocean Avenue," and the venue erupted in a massive pogoing, word-for-word recounting of the band's 2004 classic.
The energy exchange between Yellowcard and its devoted crowd made this performance one of the better, if not unexpectedly great shows of the year. The dudes seemed as though they felt the need to earn their fans back after being gone for a while, but that was hardly the case. Experiencing band-to-fan gratitude is always a good feeling, and Yellowcard's humbleness did not go unnoticed.
Personal Bias: None. Pop punk is an easily consumable art form, and Yellowcard have perfected it. By The Way: This comeback show/tour could be what solidifies this band as genre survivors. Random Detail: The between-set soundtrack involving Britney, Kelly Clarkson, Katy Perry and Journey was not only welcomed by the crowd, but they knew (and sang) every word as loud as possible.
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