November 4, 2015 Yellowcard & New Found Glory Rock Starland Ballroom Sayerville, NJ 10-28-15 w/ Tigers Jaw
There are those days when one wants to relive the past. Some visit old haunts, go to their old family house, others reminisce with friends. When Yellowcard and New Found Glory announced they would be partaking in a co-headlining tour together this harvest season, it was the blast from the past many had dreamed of. Both getting their starts in the late ’90s, they were the poster bands for teenage angst, romance, and heartbreak. Since then, they have released several LPs, built two of the strongest names in American Rock, and in the past year, both have new albums to offer fans; Yellowcard’s 2014 Lift a Sail, along with New Found Glory’s 2014 Resurrection. Drumming up immense excitement among fans, the tour kicked off on October 8th and will run all the way through Thanksgiving week, ending on November 22nd. With stops in major cities across the USA, the buses stopped in Sayerville, New Jersey on Wednesday October 28th to set up shop at the area’s best venue, Starland Ballroom. Just a mere four days after the bill rocked New York City, this New Jersey crowd packed in on the horribly rainy Wednesday night, preparing themselves for one hell of a show.
The opening act for the two heavyweights was a band by the name of Tigers Jaw. Come together over a decade ago, Tigers Jaw hails from the town of Scranton, Pennsylvania and has released a series of original material, and in 2014 put out the charted album Charmer. Consisting of original members Brianna Collins on keyboard and vocals, Ben Walsh on guitar and vocals, touring members Luke Schwartz on bass, Sam Lister on drums, and Pat Benson on guitar, Tigers Jaw came out with a lot to prove, ready to pump up the crowd. While they are still working on their stage presence with the new touring members of the group, they performed a solid set including “Two Words,” “Hum,” and their newest single, “Nervous Kids,” off Charmer. They even covered the classic The Cure “Love Song” and received a warm welcome to Starland Ballroom. Tigers Jaw’s Collins and Walsh are certainly talented musicians worth seeing this tour, but those who miss them, they will be at The Bell House in Brooklyn, New York December 11th opening for Kevin Devine.
Next up was the one and only New Found Glory. The band from Coral Springs, Florida formed in 1997 and following success with their sophomore self-titled album in 2000, they made their biggest mark on the Pop Punk sound with 2002’s Sticks and Stones. With eight albums in total under their belt, along with serious touring, the band is made up of original members Jordan Pundik (lead vocals/guitar), Chad Gilbert (lead guitar/ backing vocals), Ian Grushka (bass guitar/backing vocals), and Cyrus Bolooki (drums). Essenitally idols in the Pop Punk world, they walked onto the stage like they were ready to own it, and they did! Running, jumping, and kicking all over the stage, everyone in the crowd lost their minds as the show began.
Opening up with “Resurrection,” they aimed to please the crowd as they went into favorites like “Understatement,” and a killer cover of movie Rock band The Wonders, “That Thing You Do.” Rocking into oldie “Hit or Miss,” they kept the energy flowing with another Sticks and Stones cut, “Sonny,” before returning to newer song, “Selfless.” Having everyone screaming for more, they moved at a rapid speed as they performed other classics like “All Downhill From Here” “Sucker,” “Summer Fling, Don’t Mean a Thing,” and “It’s Been a Summer,” to name a few. They filled their ninety minute set with a perfect mix of old and new, and the amount of skill they have on their instruments. Pundik reached out to the crowd and at one point, got so excited he jumped to the barricade to get the fans even more involved.
The most memorable, and probably the coolest, thing of the entire performance was when they picked a guy out of the crowd to come up and pick a song he wanted them to play and sing it with them. Yes, that is right, sing it with the band. He picked “2’s & 3’s,” and the kid rocked out the show as if he was actually in the band. As the crowd moshed, and crowd surfed, New Found Glory continued to thank everyone for following them from the beginning and welcoming the newer fans. In total playing over fifteen songs, they closed out their set with the song that put them on the map, “My Friends Over You,” which had everyone jumping to new heights. While the band appears to be taking a much deserved break from touring following this run with Yellowcard, hopes are more dates will be announced for 2016.
Following a brief intermission for everyone to re-hydrate after a heart-pumping set by New Found Glory, Yellowcard was up next. Another band coming together in Florida region of the country in 1997, Yellowcard has extensive history under their belts. Making a name for themselves in the early 2000s with their unique use of a violin in their Pop Punk sound, 2003’s Ocean Avenue is what put their name on the map with the single of the very same name. Now having released nine studio albums, toured the world over, and survived a two year hiatus between 2008 and 2010, Yelllowcard is as strong as ever. Consisting of Vocalist/Guitarist/Pianist Ryan Key, Violinist/Vocalist Sean Mackin, Lead Guitarist/Vocalist Ryan Mendez, Bassist Josh Portman, and touring drummer Tucker Rule behind the kit after Longineu W. Parsons III left in 2014, the band was ready to go. A fitting match for them and New Found Glory to team up for this co-headlining tour, the energy was in fact through the roof in the moments prior to the final set of the night.
The anticipation for them to come out was palpable. One could feel and taste the adrenaline, and when the lights went out and the feedback from a guitar began, everyone was losing their minds. As they funneled onto the stage with the start of “Breathing,” there was not a doubt in anyone’s mind that this was going to be a great performance. Once they wrapped up “Breathing,” they went onto other fan favorites like, “Way Away,” “With You Around,” and “Lights and Sounds.” Their stage presence was amazing as they moved around singing and performing with each other and then egging the crowd to sing along. Mackin probably had the most exciting performance, screaming to have the crowd get involved, jumping onto the speakers as well as small ramps they had strategically placed, as he played the violin. They played a few songs from their newest album, Lift a Sail, “Lift a Sail” and “Crash the Gates.”
Things slowed down when all but Key left the stage and they brought out a keyboard. He spoke about how much he loved the song and wanted to do something different so that he could hear the crowd sing along to “Empty Apartment.” His vocals were just as good as when the song was released in 2003 and brought back memories as well as a twinge of sadness. It was powerful and moving, and with the crowd singing along, it was even more so.The band came back onto the stage and the song following was another commanding song, “Only One.” Closing out the show with the song that everyone young and old knows by heart was “Ocean Avenue.” The crowd tried to forget it was the last song and sang just as if it was their first song of the set. They closed out the night with the same passion they had through the whole concert and it was sad to see them all run off the stage.
All in all, the teaming of New Found Glory and Yellowcard was everything it was built up to be and more. It was the blast from the past that one was looking for, and anyone would want to relive again and again. Be sure to get out there and catch the tour before it is too late.