November 18, 2016 Yellowcard Bid Farewell The Paramount Huntington, NY 11-11-16
There are few bands out there that go out on top. Some hang around too long, others lose their inspiration, thus making their impressive careers fall flat in the end. That in mind, on June 24, 2016, Yellowcard made the major announcement that their next tour would be their last. Coming as a total shock to fans, the band released their tenth and final album on September 30th and kicked off the farewell run on October 6th. A total of 34 shows, the trek finds them returning to familiar cities they have shared fond memories with over the past two decades. A bittersweet goodbye for Ryan Key (vocals, guitars), Sean Mackin (violins), Ryan Mendez (guitar), and Josh Portman (bass), as well as their their fans, every show will hold special meaning until the lights go out on November 22nd.
Speaking of special places, odds are everyone could tell a story about the first time they saw Yellowcard, or how many times they have seen the band. While this is true, perhaps one of the places that has the most dedication to the band is the New York Area. Visiting the city and its surrounding areas countless times over the years, on Friday, November 11th, they would make one final trip to The Paramount out in Huntington. Last performing at the venue back on January 12, 2013, they were greeted with a sold out crowd of anxious fans.
Opening up the show was New Jersey based band Dryjacket. Consisting of Joe Junod (guitar, vocals), Brad Wyllner (guitar, vocals), Ian Foley (bass, vocals), and Adam Cerdan (drums), they are relatively new on the scene. Signed to Hopeless Records, their Indie Rock style was sure to get the crowd going.
Wasting no time, they went into “Misused Adrenaline” to kick off their set as fans were still pouring into the venue. Diving into their Lights, Locks and Faucets EP with “Jefferson’s Shadow,” “You’re Welcome,” and “Latchkey,” they grabbed the attention of all, even those unfamiliar with their music. Thanking everyone for coming out early to see them, they offered another new track, entitled “Bill Gates’ Ringtone,” before closing out with “Uncle Jack.” Joining at their merchandise booth after, they took photos and conversed with all who came by to say hello. Set to release their new album, For Posterity, on January 13th, Dryjacket is prime to make an impact in 2017.
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From across a bridge to across an ocean, Stockholm Sweden’s Like Torches was up next. Currently enjoying their first of what will hopefully be many trips to the United States, the Alternative Rock group is comprised of Jonathan Kärn (vocals), his brother Daniel Kärn (guitar), Zakarias Faleij (bass), Lars Erik Thyr (guitar), and Jimmy Brunkvist (drums). Now out acting as main support for Yellowcard on this tour, Like Torches is also celebrating the release of their newest album, 2016’s Shelter.
Quickly building momentum, they jump-started their performance with “Coma” and “Walking Home.” Greeting the audience shortly after, they showed their sense of humor and personality as Kärn told fans that the group had shirts available for free at their merchandise booth in exchange for money. Mixing in the jokes between the music, quickly warming up the room, they moved into “Swing By Swing” and “Keep Your Head High.” Keeping it fun and loose, they played on with “Missing It All” before closing out with their single “Skeletons.” Like Torches’ first US Tour is laying down the groundwork for plenty of future success. A heavy dose of energy backed by quality music and a personable group of guys, Like Torches has all the right ingredients to become something special.
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With the venue now completely packed, the time came for Yellowcard to take over, but not before some humorous announcing over the PA that the band would very much rather see the audience watching the show live, than through their cellphones just to grab some video. A sad commentary on modern concert goers priorities, it nonetheless reached a roar of cheers prior to the band emerging onto the platform.
Opening with the first track off 2003’s Ocean Avenue, “Way Away,” everyone was immediately brought back in time. It only took the first few notes of “Breathing” for many in the crowd to pick up that the band was planning on playing, the multi-platinum album in its entirety, and in order. Before going on, Key took some time to thank the crowd and to make mention of a few things. After reiterating that the band was playing Ocean Avenue in its entirety for only the second time ever, Key took some time to thank Like Torches’ Brunkvist for playing drums for Yellowcard. He then gave everyone an idea of how difficult it was, since Brunkvist had to learn about thirty Yellowcard songs in a short period of time while halfway across the world. Going on to state the next song was usually the band’s closer, they kicked into “Ocean Avenue,” where everyone was singing along.
Playing the record start to finish, including “Empty Apartment” and “Life of a Salesman,” the crowd danced, sang along, and an occasional crowd-surfed to make their way up front. Between songs, the fellows in Yellowcard spent plenty time interacting with the audience, paying tribute to their teenage friend Scotty before “View From Heaven.” Humoring the crowd with various antics between other tracks, the biggest laugh came when Key exclaimed after telling the crowd how his parents use the album’s lyrics in their anniversary cards. Before wrapping up the Ocean Avenue portion of the evening with “Back Home,” Key stated, “Without this record, we wouldn’t be here today.”
Promising to return to play more, it would be hard to call it an encore, or even a small handful of songs, it was a full-blown second set. Opening with “Rest in Peace” and playing tracks such as “Rough Landing, Holly” and “Light Up the Sky,” everyone was jumping around and cheering along. After “Gifts and Curses,” Key praised everyone again, and in an extended speech, he poured his soul to the crowd. Giving them a better understanding of Yellowcard’s sudden departure, with his eyes visibly tearing up, Key asked the crowd to give them everything they had left for the last song. Resulting in everyone losing their mind, and voice, the finale came with “Lights and Sounds.” As the lights came back up, The Sound of Music’s “So Long, Farewell” filled the air as Yellowcard said their last goodbye.
With a strong stage presence and an undeniable ability to make a large venue feel intimate, Yellowcard is leaving nothing behind on stage every night of their final tour. While farewell tour concludes in the USA November 23rd, they will be spending December in the UK before heading over to Australia and Japan for February and March. Much like Key’s closing speech at The Paramount, Yellowcard’s final tour will no doubt be met with as many tears as cheers.