After 20 years as a band, 10 records and a number of generation-defining songs, it’s no surprise that Yellowcard has decided to hang up its guitars and violin. With one final world tour giving fans the chance to connect with the Florida natives once more before parting ways with the music industry, it’s hard to imagine any venue flood with somberness – especially considering it’s Yellowcard, known for their energy and animation. However, it’s a mood that the American rock quintet fought and ultimately overcame in Charlotte due to unexpected circumstances.
Excitement, anticipation and suspense filled the Fillmore Charlotte as fans eagerly waited Yellowcard’s entrance. For some, it’s a night that’s been circled on the calendars for months – ever since the band announced the dates before summer.
With a dramatic entrance that fit the bill, Yellowcard emerged from behind the black backstage curtain to an overwhelming roar of cheers from the largest crowd they’ve performed to in Charlotte. Commencing with “Believe,” one of the standout tracks off their renowned third LP Ocean Avenue, Yellowcard entranced the audience within seconds. Between Sean Mackin’s soothing violin and Ryan Key’s tranquilizing vocals – “Everything is gonna be alright, everything is gonna be alright, be strong believe” – the group set the stage perfectly for a memorable night.
Photos by Benjamin Robson
The crowd roared and the band fed off the energy, until a fan launched an open beer that struck Key, ultimately dousing the vocalist. Security followed protocol and removed the fan responsible, however the incident drastically altered the vibe inside the music hall. Both parties felt the effects of the disturbance – the crowd grew weary and Key appeared vexed. The unfortunate altercation tested both Yellowcard and the fans, who ultimately replaced the somberness with liveliness.
A string of crowd-pleasers including “Five Becomes Four,” “Rest In Piece,” “What Appears” and “Rough Landing, Holly” began to flip the switch. By the time Yellowcard unveiled “Awakening” and “Light Up The Sky” mid way through the playlist, both parties reclaimed their footing. Much like the four year hiatus Yellowcard overcame between Paper Walls and When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes, the fans were at the forefront. The near sold-out crowd inspired change and received what they bargained for.
“Transmission Home,” “A Place We Set Afire” and “Lift A Sail” brought out the best of both parties, as Mackin backflipped off his bandmates drum kit and the audience’s mosh pit enthusiasm peaked through. During the acoustic rendition of “October Nights,” orange stage lights painted the venue Autumn’s colors while Spiderman’s blue and red colored the walls during “Gifts and Curses.”
It’s impressive the way Yellowcard turned around the night, creating the memorable performance everyone hoped for, in addition to their 24-song, all-encompassing setlist. A night that began filled with question marks, ended in delight thanks to the individual contributions from each band. Mackin acted as the hype-man throughout the 2-hour performance and helped direct the audience’s attention to guitarist Ryan Mendez and bassist Josh Portman’s impressive strumming. Key’s heartfelt soliloquy before their final song, “Ocean Avenue,” stole the crowd’s hearts before the band bid farewell to a city that’s welcomed the Floridians with open arms on numerous occasions.