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Proving that an impressively played festival set can pay future dividends, yours truly dug deep into his hip pocket to see Yellowcard after they had made quite the positive impression during their 40 minute set last year. Considering that previous to that Australian performance, the Floridian quintet shared headlining duties with Sum 41, then it was safe to say that us Aussies had been craving a full Yellowcard headline set for quite some time… And the rather intimate setting of The Hi-Fi Bar in central Melbourne was the perfect venue for the first of two sold-out shows.

First up for the night were local pop-rockers For Our Hero. Having never heard a single song by these youngsters before this night, I actually came away rather impressed. Sure, it was pretty safe stuff without any real distinguishing point… But in their spot of warming up an audience who were predominantly waiting to hear a band such as Yellowcard, then For Our Hero achieved their objective. They sounded clear, crisp & catchy with just enough variety to get by. If they can grow into their own sound as they gain experience, then this could be a band with a bright future.

Continuing the “hero” theme, Australia’s 2nd favourite pop-punk outfit Heroes For Hire were up next. I’m actually a fan of their recorded output thus far in their career. Again, they don’t do anything that hasn’t been done by superior overseas bands, but they do so in a catchy & energetic manner which is difficult to dislike. Predictably, their live show leans on the heavier side of their act… And to be honest, I found that only makes them less distinctive in the grand scheme of things. Most band members run all over the stage to give off an energetic vibe, but it all seemed like adhering to a stereotype. Apart from the strange sight of seeing a fan hopping up on stage & chugging a beer from his shoe, the one saving grace was the interesting dual vocal dynamic, which surprisingly had me favouring Duane Hazell’s whinier style to lead singer Brad Smith. Heroes For Hire played songs from all 3 of their LPs – including new release ‘No Apologies’ – but it may be concerning that older tunes ‘Lights Out’ & ‘Bright Lights in Paradise’ were the set highlights.

Following the now customary continual chanting of a band’s name, Yellowcard ambled out on to stage – in rather under-stated fashion – to a rousing response. As soon as lead vocalist Ryan Key sang out “Bottoms up tonight…” from ‘Summer Air’ opener ‘Awakening’ though, there was nothing at all under-stated about this veteran outfits performance. The loud & adoring crowd sang out almost every word of every song – to the point where Key had to adjust his earpiece multiple times – and the band visibly fed off the energy to the betterment of their enthusiastic performance. The rapid-fire hits just kept coming our way, with ‘Rough Landing, Holly’, ‘Breathing’ & ‘Five Becomes Four’ early set highlights, before recent single ‘Always Summer’ resulted in what may have been the most pitch-perfect rendition of the night! ‘Hang You Up’ then slowed the pace down, before Ryan went solo for ‘Sing For Me’ & the majority of ‘Empty Apartment’.

From a musical stand-point, Yellowcard were also difficult to fault. As per usual, the majority of the attention was focused on violinist, cheerleader & ever-smiling good guy Sean Mackin, as he put his heart into every melody and sang along to almost every lyric. In truth, Mackin often over-shadows the accomplished guitar-work of both Key & Ryan Mendez, who balance flair & technicality in impressive fashion. If anything, the rhythm section predominantly stayed in the background, with drummer Longineu Parsons occasionally looking a little unchallenged by what he was asked to do. There’s a good reason for this, however, and my word was it shown when he performed a mid-set solo which just may well end up being my musical moment of 2012. Words cannot even begin to indicate what Parsons was doing, but I’m certain someone pressed the speed-search button at the venue! This is the best video I could find of it… & it really does not do the solo justice:

As if the night required another ingredient, two fans were then introduced to the crowd late in the set, with a wedding proposal taking place. Thankfully, the answer was in the affirmative, because I’m not quite sure how the subsequent ‘Only One’ would have come off otherwise! As ‘Lights and Sounds’ finished off the main set, anticipation grew for the predictable encore & its much-loved closer. New single ‘Here I Am Alive’ sounded just fine without Taylor Jardine contributing vocals, while ‘Light Up the Sky’ lit up the mood of the venue in anticipation to a song I’ve previously dubbed the greatest live sing-along I have ever witnessed. Needless to say, ‘Ocean Avenue’ delivered the goods once more, capping off a fantastic night from a band that just keeps on keeping on! Yellowcard are very much a recommended live prospect according to this scribe.

Do you like my Billie Joe impression? Whattaya mean I only have 1 minute left? Arghhhh!





DaveyBoy
10.02.12
YELLOWCARD SETLIST

1. Awakening
2. Rough Landing, Holly
3. Breathing
4. For You & Your Denial
5. Shrink the World
6. Five Becomes Four
7. Always Summer
8. Hang You Up
9. Sing For Me
10. Empty Apartment
11. With You Around
12. [Drum Solo]
13. Way Away
14. Believe
15. Only One
16. Lights and Sounds
*Encore*
17. Here I Am Alive
18. Light Up the Sky
19. Ocean Avenue

All up, their set lasted near on 100 minutes.

Willie
10.02.12
Looks like a damn good set list. I got their Ocean Avenue CD as part of a random care package one of the times I was in the middle east and have liked them ever since.

--the majority of the attention was focused on violinist, cheerleader & ever-smiling good guy Sean Mackin,--

Ha ha. Perfect description.

SowingSeason
10.02.12
Amazing set list, even if I would have liked to have seen more stuff from Summer Air up there (namely "Sleep In The Snow", "Rivertown Blues", and the title track)...anyhow, Yellowcard always puts on a great show and I'm glad you agree. I have never seen the other two bands live, but you made their performances sound good enough so I'm intrigued. Nice work, Davey.

Sanders
10.02.12
Picked up tickets to see these guys when they come to the UK next year. This has got me even more excited.

nononsense
10.02.12
Could you post the Heroes For Hire setlist?

AtavanHalen
10.02.12
why are you reviewing a show from 2003

Kris.
10.02.12
fuuuuu woulda been so cool to be at this

skoopy48
10.02.12
Sounds like a sweet show

"from ‘Summer Air’ opener"

I think you meant southern

DaveyBoy
10.02.12
Trey, if you have yet to hear it, I think that their newie matches - no, betters - 'Ocean Avenue'! Never thought I'd say that.

Agreed on both counts Sowing. I was actually trying to squeeze into the write-up that there was surprisingly only 3 tracks from the new LP played. Obviously 'Ten' wasn't going to get a run, but I think 'Vicious Kind', 'Rivertown Blues' or even 'Surface of the Sun' would fit on there well.

You'll have a ball Sanders. Make sure you're singing voice is working on all cylinders.

Sorry nononsense, I wasn't jotting them down. The ones I recall were the 2 I mentioned, STD, Milk & 3 new songs. I think there were 2 more from 'Take One for the Team', but unsure which.

T=You tell him Kris. BTW DavID, how was Regurgitator the other night?

Douglas
10.03.12
Have they been known to play Gifts and Curses live? That's my favourite track.

Our Hero, holy straightener batman.

DaveyBoy
10.03.12
Most teenagers look like idiots... Ooops, I just offended 69% of Sputnik.

Don't think they've played it for quite some time Dougie. Technically, that wasn't on any of their albums, I guess. Not that it should matter if they want to play it.

Douglas
10.03.12
They do look like idiots, definitely.

Ah that's a shame, such a great song!

Douglas
10.03.12
They do look like idiots, definitely.

Ah that's a shame, such a great song!

Douglas
10.03.12
They do look like idiots, definitely.

Ah that's a shame, such a great song!

NorwichScene
10.03.12
I love a good drum solo. He did that last time I saw them a couple of years back. Chang wait to see them in March now when they tour the UK

NorwichScene
10.03.12
I love a good drum solo. He did that last time I saw them a couple of years back. Chang wait to see them in March now when they tour the UK

NorwichScene
10.03.12
Bloody Sputnik playing up, sorry for double post

DaveyBoy
10.03.12
Woh, Sputnik's gone all tripp(l)y.

NorwichScene
10.03.12
It paused for some reason, then said wait a second and try again. Just did what it told me to do lol

ReturnToRock
10.04.12
I think the question in everyone's mind is: DID THEY PLAY 'TWO WEEKS FROM TWENTY'?!?!?

DaveyBoy
10.04.12
The setlist suggests not. It seems like everyone has their favorite Yellowcard song... Or 2nd favorite after 'Ocean Avenue'.

ReturnToRock
10.04.12
Two Weeks From Twenty would be mine :D

AtavanHalen
10.04.12
it fucking ruled ck

you should go to good shows like that instead of shit like this

DaveyBoy
10.04.12
But I don't have a time machine to transport me back from 2003 to 1997.

AtavanHalen
10.04.12
if you're only going to be let out of the house once every four months, you should make it count

GarysClinton
10.05.12
Yellowcard list has some awesome songs, I had seen it on YouTube..I think we must give a try at-least.
mimaki inks

GarysClinton
10.05.12
My personal favorites is the song Awakening and Way Away .
http://www.stsinks.com/mimaki.html

AtavanHalen
10.05.12
i too enjoy the musical stylings of the yellowcards

DaveyBoy
10.06.12
I still go back & forth on whether I prefer 'Awakening' or 'Always Summer'. The latter sounded better live, but I think I still have a leaning towards the album opener on record.

Butkuiss
10.08.12
Heroes for Hire's guitarist is actually a friend of a friend of mine. I should probably listen to them once, at the very least.

Jom
10.09.12
Looked like a fun gig. Never really listened to Yellowcard after 'Ocean Avenue' because their sound didn't really gel with me, but I gave a couple songs a re-listen and I'll have to give their newer stuff a whirl. Nice write-up!

DaveyBoy
10.13.12
You sure he's not a friend of the guy who walks your neigbour's dog Butkuiss? ;-)

It was definitely fun Jom. Going off what you say, it's difficult to tell if you'd like their last 2 albums, although I think they're worth a listen. Hell, it's difficult to know what you'll like at the best of times, you cwazy man!

savaah
10.13.12
heard yellowcard ages ago, didn't they broke up?

DaveyBoy
10.16.12
I think the official line was that they were "on a break".

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