Yellowcard

support Tag Your Targets
author TL date 26/08/11 venue Lille Vega, Copenhagen, DEN

Dear readers; Please brace for potentially hazardous levels of bias. Tonight marks the first ever Yellowcard show in Denmark and I am about as giddy as a schoolgirl at her first concert. Surprisingly, not many schoolgirl-looking types frequent Lille Vega this night, rather the majority of the assembled crowd seem to be a little older. Likely people have waited, as I have waited, ever since falling for Yellowcard on their 2003 breakthrough album "Ocean Avenue" - an album that, along with Jimmy Eat World's "Bleed American", is among the chief reasons I personally got interested in rock music in the first place. Sure enough the band since took a dip and a three year hiatus, but considering the quality on the two recentmost albums, 2008's "Paper Walls" and this year's "When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes", there's been plenty of reason to look forward to the band's first visit anyway. Before we get to see if the band can live up to our expectations however, there's first the matter of tonight's support band:

Tag Your Targets

Despite having only a demo to their name, Malmö's Tag Your Targets are trying to get the ball rolling in these parts, not only with this awesome opportunity of a support slot, but also by setting up future days playing with the local heroes in A Road To Damascus. Tonight though, any hopes they or the audience might have for the show, are severely grounded by a rather bad case of 'support band sound'. The band's fast-paced pop-punk comes out the speakers an absolutely blurry mess, and while they initially win some points with the audience for understanding that; no, Danish people don't all understand Swedish, so yes, it is a better idea to speak English when you play here - the show quickly turns into the kind that people spend checking their watches, waiting for it to be over so they can talk to their mates. The slightly inexperienced bunch isn't helped either, by the fact that all of them wielding instruments is still limiting them to a very static stage show at this point. Overall, I hate to bash these dudes, because they seem like they have their heads on straight, and some cool sounding music in the pipes as well, but looking at tonight's set exclusively, things just weren't very good at all.

Yellowcard

As soon as the lights dim for the second time, things fortunately look a lot better from the word go. The show is either sold out, or close enough to not make a difference, and you can tell from the dense crowd, all eyeing the stage with anticipation. Anticipation that is immediately relieved when Yellowcard come on and jump into the leading single off the new album "For You And Your Denial". If there are any of the usual starting problems with the mix, it's hard to make note of, because the front half of the venue is moving immediately, with solid singalongs proving anyone wrong who might have worried that people would only come to hear the band's older songs. During the older songs however, the response still grows from solid to super, as both movement and singalongs intensify when the band then proceeds with "Way Away" and "Breathing" from "Ocean Avenue" and then "Fighting" from "Paper Walls". Even further back and out of the thick of the action, you can see heads bopping and smiles widening. Yellowcard for their part may not be putting up as youthful a stage show as they probably did in their younger days, as noone is running around, making split-jumps or backflips or any such thing, but they do the next best thing: They act like perfect professionals, rocking out energetically while playing and singing, and smiling and talking to ensure a friendly and sincere atmosphere between songs. And with the possible exception of an airing of "Rough Landing, Holly" from much criticised album "Lights & Sounds", the love that the crowd is otherwise showing them seems to indicate that they don't really need to do much more.

Further fast songs "Life Of A Salesman" and "Five Becomes Four" follow quickly, while the venue is getting very warm, and people in the front are running short on breath. In awareness and likely anticipation of this, Yellowcard share their water with the audience, calling to the side of the stage for more, before gradually slowing things down a bit with "With You Around", "Life Of Leaving Home" and an acoustic rendition of "Empty Apartment". The first five to ten rows of the audience are still singing along as if lives depended on it, echoing off the walls more impressively than I can personally remember hearing in this venue, and effectively the band seems to have no trouble keeping up their genuine faces, both while playing and telling us how much fun they're having. A couple of crowdsurfs have occured by now (which says quite a bit considering the generally cautious nature of the average Danish concert audience) and eventually violinist Sean Mackin decides to put down the violin for a moment to ride on outstretched hands himself, afterwards mentioning with a grin on his face that we've now all swapped sweat and that this is awesome. Meanwhile, the ordinary set is moving toward the end, and the band is gradually upping the intensity again, instigating renewed efforts in the singalong departments with "Light Up the Sky" and super-anthem "Only One", which is received with a collective cry of approval upon starting.

For some reason that's beyond my understanding however, the band has selected the title track from "Lights And Sounds" to end the regular set, yet while I would have expected this to be a decisively bad move, the song still gathers decent response, and even a lengthy drum solo from sticksman Longineu Parsons III goes down rather well (and deservedly so, as Parsons impressively manages to keep the drumming more engaging than excessive). When the band leaves after the song though, everyone knows that more is coming, though I doubt everyone has guessed what, because when Yellowcard return it is with "Hang You Up" from the new album, followed by "Believe" and the title track from "Ocean Avenue". Especially the latter two help to effectively dot the "i" of the evening for many in attendance, but even so, a fair amount of people seem to be anxiously hoping for more, even when it's clear that the show is over. I can't blame them, because I think YC could easily have played the likes of "Twentythree", "Avondale" and "Gifts And Curses" without anyone checking the time. And that's impressive, because the show has lasted one and a half hours, and I could think of many bands that have miles to go before they can perform on a high level as consistently as Yellowcard just did. Overall, the sound was excellent, the band was happy and engaging and delivered a cavalcade of good songs, and a properly dedicated audience took care of the rest. I say in Denmark that's about as good a show as you can hope for in this type of venue.

Setlist:

  • 1. For You, And Your Denial
  • 2. Way Away
  • 3. Breathing
  • 4. Fighting
  • 5. Rough Landing, Holly
  • 6. Life Of A Salesman
  • 7. Five Becomes Four
  • 8. With You Around
  • 9. Life Of Leaving Home
  • 10. Empty Apartment (acoustic)
  • 11. Sing For Me
  • 12. Light Up The Sky
  • 13. Only One
  • 14. Lights And Sounds
  • --Encore--
  • 15. Hang You Up
  • 16. Believe
  • 17. Ocean Avenue

For more pictures of these and other bands, visit Jill's flickr

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