Having recorded an album with Ryan Key and Ryan Mendez from Yellowcard last May, it made sense that Like Torches opened up for their show tonight. Originating from Stockholm, they take to the stage with a relatively small number of people having heard them before. This was a first for me, too, and it’s something that I am glad I was able to see. Musically, these guys are so tight it’s impressive. They have some really creative riffs and melodies, and the two vocalists play brilliantly off each other in what I can only describe as being in a ‘Taking Back Sunday’ fashion. The crowd interaction is great too; Jonathan Karn on lead vocals teaches the crowd a Swedish word, which everyone screams despite having absolutely no idea what it means. There is loads of banter, lots of arm waving and jumping, and its a great opening act.
It’s a global affair as Floridian pop-rockers Set It Off take to the stage next with their melodic vocals and heavy rock breakdowns. Before the first song is even half way through, singer Cody Carson is already standing on the barrier greeting the crowd with high-fives, hugs and singing right in their faces. In fact, the whole band are full of life, and it’s not long before instruments are flying in the air and spinning around.
Cody knows his audience, and it’s not long before the dedications flow out of him; “this is for anyone who ever felt alone… ” or, “this is for anyone who’s ever been abandoned…”. Cheesy as it might be, the band are effortless in striking a rapport with the crowd, who seem fairly won over within a couple of songs. The band do sound great, and I’d go and see them again, albeit much more for the music than the banter.
On the strength of the support bands, everyone is raring to go when Yellowcard take to the stage. A couple of songs in, those in front of the stage are well away, singing along to every word, hands in the air. For me, it’s about half way through the set when Here I Am Alive is played that things really get going. Possibly, this song acts as a bridge for both old and new fans, before and after their 3 year hiatus.
It’s not uncommon for anyone who sings lead vocals and also plays the guitar to be a little tethered to the microphone during a set, but this is not the way Ryan Key likes to play a show. Constantly jumping around the stage between lyrics, up and down from stands, leaning into the crowd, he never stopped moving. To give credit where credit is due, his energy is fantastic, and I honestly wonder how he manages to carry on singing for a large amount of the set.
But, what really sets Yellowcard apart from seeing most other bands live? The Violin. Sean Mackin is superb on strings and also manages to perform the entire set running all over the place, getting the crowd going and interacting with everyone he can see.