After a triumphant 20 years, modern-day rock veterans Yellowcard decided to call it quits. There wasn’t any rockstar drama or a traumatic event, they just thought it was time to preserve their legacy as it stands. With ten albums and over two decades of touring under their belts, it’s no question whether or not they’ll be remembered. Of course, they had to go out in typical Yellowcard style, with one last tour around the globe. Last Wednesday, it became Milwaukee’s time to say goodbye.
The show at The Rave/Eagles Club began with a dance-inducing set by New Jersey natives, Dryjacket. Their sound was rock-rooted in some ambient instrumentals, but the singer was also adorned with an acoustic guitar, giving way to their indie touch. This made for an all-around intriguing experience watching the four-piece group. While the crowd wasn’t exactly tearing up the dance floor, they were attentive and taking in all that Dryjacket was. After their set, the line at their merch booth extended to about 20 feet, fans clearly taking a liking to their superb guitar riffs and catchy melodies.
With the energy pre-amplified by the latter, Swedish band Like Torches had no problem kicking it up to an even higher notch. Taking on more of an alternative sound, Like Torches had a stage presence nearly reminiscent of a post-hardcore band. Vocalist Johnathan Kärn was impossible to pin in one spot throughout almost the entire set and the guitarists followed suit. While their energy was constantly buzzing, the music itself spanned a wide variety oftempos. Some songs made the crowd want to bang their heads just the slightest, while others induced clapping and hand-swaying. With the crowd growing more alive with each song, Like Torches took it upon themselves to teach the audience some Swedish slang (which sounded like YOLO to me), and thankYellowcard for bringing them to the states. They left stage having made a lasting impression on the crowd, even as anticipation and emotion raised in the room as Yellowcard’s final set inched closer.
Usually when a band is about to go on stage, there’s either some ambient music, or some kind of humorous movie clip being played over the speakers. However, Yellowcard took a different route. The moment the lights went down, a deep voice bellowed over the speakers, telling fans to pay attention. Its tone was sassy as he told fans that everything they feel the need to record tonight, is already on the internet for them to watch at their leisure. While the audience inherently agreed, it was clear that this was not the kind of announcement they were expecting at a farewell show. Rather than being a heartfelt message to open up their final show in Milwaukee, fans were left with a reminder that life isn’t ‘all about your phone’, a narrative we hear far too often and have grown annoyed of hearing from our elders. However, when the voice said, “Now, let’s f—ing rock,” the audience quickly brushed off the reminder and erupted into cheers and clapping.
For those unfamiliar, Yellowcard is a cross between modern rock and the more punk side of music – such as Sum 41, Blink-182 and The All-American Rejects. Energy is in their musical DNA, a requirement for the scene that they were a part of for so long. The live performance echoing that same energy is one of the few necessities for a true rock show.
Yellowcard took to the stage in their habitual lively fashion, not taking a second to warm up to the crowd. Violinist Sean Mackin hopped all over risers, somehow still hitting every note on the small four-string instrument. Guitarist Ryan Mendez and bassist Josh Portman constantly switched places on stage, running from one end to the next with every song.
In turn, the audience didn’t take a minute to warm up, either. With their opening song “Believe”, the crowd turned into a choir of unison voices, also all jumping in synchronization. There were only a few minutes throughout the entire show that the crowd was still, and that’s when Yellowcard wasn’t playing their music. Even then, cheers still roared from the crowd.
The loudest cheers were heard during vocalist Ryan Key’s first speech of the night. He acknowledged that most fans might be here for their hit single “Ocean Avenue”, and that was okay. He just wanted every person in that room to enjoy themselves and their last night together.
“If you’re able to tell your friend you had the best night of your life,” Key said, “Then you didn’t have the best night of your life.” Joking that fans shouldn’t have a voice left at the end of the night.
With the high-impact of their set and the flooding of emotions in the room, I would be surprised if anyone did leave with a voice the next day. Yellowcard’s23-song set spanned across their vast collection of releases, bringing out some old classics like “Lights and Sounds”, as well as new favorites like “Rest in Peace”. By the conclusion of the show, Yellowcard further proved themselves to be one of the hardest working bands modern rock and pop punk has ever seen. Although the ending was a bittersweet one, Yellowcard left the crowd with no loose ends and a memory to last their lifetime.
BEST SPECTACLE: Yellowcard sold “Ocean Avenue” street sign replicas at their merch booth. Nearly every person had one and I wondered how the hell they didn’t sell out.
Lights and Sounds
Five Becomes Four
Rest in peace
Rough Landing, Holly
Light Up the Sky
Sing for Me
A Place We Set Afire
Lift a Sail
Sleep in the Snow
Cut Me, Mick
Hang You Up
Be The Young
Holly Wood Died