“There’s a place off Ocean Avenue, where I used to sit and talk with you”
“We were both 16 and it felt so wright, sleeping in all day, staying up all night”
Wow, even though that song was written about somebody else reminiscing, whenever I hear it I simply can not stop the memories from my early teen years flowing through.
This song was Yellowcard’s Ocean Avenue (from the album of the same name), and ever since it was released I’ve considered myself a big fan of the band and have been looking forward to seeing them play live.
I always wondered; what would it feel like to be in a mosh pit during the final breakdown of Lights and Sounds? Just how deafening would the crowd sing along be during the chorus of Breathing? Does the violin player really do backflips all the way through their show? All these questions I’ve been pondering in the lead up to the gig.
What were they like live?
They were ok……
Like not brilliant, but not bad, somewhere awkwardly in the middle.
Having successfully sold out Glasgow’s 2,500 capacity venue the O2 Academy, I found it strange the band chose to walk in 5 minutes ahead of schedule unannounced while most of the crowd were still outside trying to stop their ears from ringing due to the blisteringly loud set from opening band Chunk! No Captain Chunk. The light guy hadn’t even had a chance to light the stage until midway through Yellowcard’s instrumental opener Convocation.
With that aside, things began to seem positive as leading into the chorus the violin player climbed a speaker and pulled off the perfect backflip. Unfortunately the positivity began and ended there.
Working into Transmission Home, and Crash the Gates the band generally seemed disinterested. The quality of performance we were seeing was that I would expect from a cheap cover band playing a local footy club function after a gutful of pints at 1 in the morning.
Lights and Sounds, a song I have an incredible connection with was simply rolled through like ‘just another old hit’. You know what, I used to love mosh pits I’d get in there at every opportunity that I could. But after some experiences of nearly loosing teeth and breaking my nose there’s now only a handful of bands and a handful of songs I will willingly enter a mosh pit for. This was one of those songs, but the vibe was so dead I may as well have not bothered.
As a fan I felt a bit cheated. Was this really the band my girlfriend Jileesa and I had admired so much during our early teen years? Were they really playing the songs I had picked apart and learnt note for note when I first started with guitar? As much as I knew the answer was yes, I refused to believe so.
The set moved on to cover Light Up The Sky and a collection of new songs from their album ‘Lift a Sail’. During these it was clear that the majority of the crowd were as interested as Jileesa and I was, kid you not there were moments where the sound of peoples conversations was louder than the band playing.
But then they did something to rescue the set, they played the mega hit that made this band a once house hold name for any family in the western world with an angsty teenager.
The mood in the room instantly lifted, people stopped their conversations and began singing along to every single word!
“If I could find you now, things would be better”
“We could leave this town, come run forever!”
This is what we wanted, a room full of people reminiscing with their favorite songs being performed by a band that helped influence so much of the big Pop/Rock scene of the early 2000’s alongside the bands Jimmy Eat World, My Chemical Romance, AFI, and The Used.
“Thank you we are Yellowcard, make sure you grab our new album”
Wait, that’s it?
Do you think you can really get away with dialing in a set, playing 12 songs with almost no effort, then belt out a closer that was a hit over a decade ago and consider you’ve put in a good nights performance?
Last week I watched one of The Veronicas throats almost close mid gig due to an anaphylactic allergic reaction. Even when Jess was struggling to breathe she managed to put on a better show. Really says a lot doesn’t it.
Maybe I’m being over critical, maybe I’m over analyzing things.
At least that’s what I began to think, until I jumped on the bands Facebook page and realised quite a lot of other people shared the same opinion as me.
I love Yellowcard and will continue listening to their albums for as long as I can, after all Ocean Avenue and Paper Wings are both brilliant records.
Sadly in the live environment though they just don’t cut it, and I am not planning on checking out one of their gigs again anytime soon.
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