Over a decade has passed since Yellowcard first exploded onto the pop-punk scene with power-pop friendly hit ‘Ocean Avenue’ – the album from which this song was the title track provided the coming-of-age backing track for many of their fans. This was a band that dared to be different, full of energy and enthusiasm but offering an offbeat challenge to the pop-punk scene in the form of violinist Sean Mackin who whipped up your emotions and plucked at those heartstrings.
They gave us a full hand of solid albums; brimming with catchy yet timeless anthems revolving around the days of youthful angst, lovesick stories, happiness and the times in-between. Their renowned endless high-energy rock shows came to an indefinite hiatus in 2008 when they cited personal situations and a promised return in the not so distant future. 2010 saw a re-launch in stellar style with their reform album, ‘When You’re Done Thinking, Say Yes’ being fuelled with the fire of the past and a vision of the future. In the past two years they’ve dabbled in the UK with tour supports and co-headlining shows but this month sees their return to UK soil as a headline act in their own right. A triumphant return it certainly is, with several sell out venues and the all important, poster perfect, sold out London show at Camden’s KOKO.
The worry that maybe all is hinging on a sense of nostalgia is quickly dispelled as they burst onto the stage showcasing from latest album ‘Southern Air’ with the all-powerful openers ‘Awakening’ and ‘Surface Of The Sun’. The crowd surges, the energy in the room erupts whilst the band fling themselves across the stage with reckless abandon – this enthusiasm sticks for the entire evening.
Singer songwriter, Ryan Key delivers a set-list full of the best without compromise, his sheer vocal strength is complemented by the obvious camaraderie of a band who have loved and lost together. As he belts out poignant and incredible ballad ‘Sing For Me’ the crowd are only too happy to oblige his request to pour their own souls into the mix in a dedication to his aunt who he sadly lost to cancer. Sean continues to light up the stage in spirit and skill as a violinist with his introduction to ‘For You And Your Denial’ demonstrating a haunting majesty whilst his pitch perfect solo for ‘Always Summer’ is beautifully performed. The crowd participation is at an all time high as they are tasked with mosh pits and sing-offs, filling the venue with voices for ‘With You Around’ and ‘Here I Am Alive’.
Yellowcard may be racking up the years yet they are still consistently delivering their brand of sentimentality with clean hooks through songs which span the best of their musical career; they flawlessly play favourites like ‘Way Away’, ‘Lights And Sounds’ and ‘Light Up the Sky’. A Yellowcard set is incomplete without the punch-drunk high of an ‘Ocean Avenue’ encore which leaves not only themselves but the audience with hoarse voices and hearts bursting. Yellowcard have set the bar higher than ever before.