Yellowcard UK Tour
Coventry Kasbah is fast becoming a premium live music venue in its area, yet strings of established rock acts have taken to its intimate stages only to be met by somewhat subdued audiences, particularly in the 1,000 capacity main room of the Moroccan-themed venue. It seemed that Yellowcard frontman Ryan Key was aware of this as he and his Jacksonville band took to the stage, immediately issuing a ballsy disclaimer that if he saw one person standing still, the show was over. Perhaps not best to tempt the American troupe with another indefinite hiatus, eh Coventry?
Back on British shores to promote their 2012 release Southern Air, the band bustled into action with the album openers Awakening and Surface of the Sun. Setting the vibe with moody golden lighting and further mystified by the lingering shadowy smoke, the tone of the gig was quickly defined. Balancing with the hefty dose of recently released material were the colossal fan-pleasing hits such as Way Away and Breathing, with Sean Mackin's heavenly violin cues in the verses of the former particularly highlighting the compositional value of the instrument in Yellowcard's music.
With the American ensemble gradually working the Kasbah crowd into a more energetic force, Key called for a circle pit to be opened before the band pummelled into Rivertown Blues. Sadly, the frontman was still able to outdo the entire crowd in an instant, scooping the prize for the most enthusiastic clapping of the evening award as he valiantly fought to sustain audience participation. This on-stage enthusiasm was slightly diluted by the unassuming figure to Key's side, the latest addition to the band, bassist Josh Portman. Adopting his inconspicuous stage left position alongside settling lead guitarist Ryan Mendez, Portman remained out of the spotlight but hopefully it is only a matter of time before he becomes more comfortable in his role, for it is one that the former Near Miss musician is no doubt beginning to excel in technically.
No Yellowcard gig would be complete without showcasing the group's superbly talented drummer Longineu 'LP' Parsons, who thumped into a perfectly realised solo that caused jaws to drop even further as he began to perform blind midway through with a towel draped over his dreadlocked head. Key then led his men into the closing track of their 2006 Lights and Sounds album, Holly Wood Died, before blaring into the formidable title track, complemented with an apt frenzy of strobe lighting. Energy levels were maintained for the headbanging anthem Southern Air, swelling fluently into the beloved single Only One. As the lighting gelled in a magnificent haze of gold and turquoise, the stalactite-like decorations hanging from the venue's ceiling almost glistened in an otherworldly manner; the inhabitation obscurely signifying the way in which Yellowcard had transformed their relatively lifeless crowd into a sea of spirited souls. Closing their set with Ocean Avenue, the band departed the stage, bidding farewell to a crowd who undoubtedly enjoyed the show despite being rather reserved.
Yellowcard may not regard this remote Midlands show as their best of the tour, but they certainly drew the best from the predominantly student-based crowd. The Florida five-piece were forced to work hard, but softened the drudgery with a fair number of chuckles along the way. Still on top of their game, Yellowcard remain a superb, hard-working live act; consider this your warning - don't miss them!