Yellowcard - The Ritz
Live Review

Yellowcard – The Ritz, Manchester

I don’t like that the Ritz opens its doors at 6.30pm. There I said it. Unlike every other venue on the planet that kindly opens up between 7 and 7.30, to give you that extra bit of time to get there after work, they make you rush. Of course you could just get there a bit later and miss the support act, but in my opinion that’s not what gigs are about. It’s the whole show, not just the band that is headlining. I hate missing support acts because I always think “what if that band would have been my favourite live band ever, and I’ve missed it, and probably won’t see them ever again”, or “what if that band was the next big thing and I was one of those hundred or so people that got to see them first and could tell everyone how good it was”. On the darker side, “what if that was a total car crash and I didn’t get to stand there and marvel at it”. Basically all I’m saying is we should all petition for the Ritz to open its doors at 7.30. That being said it is quite a nice venue.

Like Torches are the first band on and the rooms about half full. Like Torches is a Pop Punk/Rock band from Stockholm, Sweden. Signed to SFSN an independent Swedish label founded in 08, it seems odd that they would have landed a gig of this magnitude. If it wasn’t of course for the fact that they have just recorded their new album in Hollywood with non-other than Ryan Key and Ryan Mendez of Yellowcard. The band starts out with just drums and a bass, starting a heavy fast paced energetic performance as they are joined by guitarists and singer Jonathan Kärn. These guys look like they are having the time of their lives, bouncing around the stage everywhere. Unfortunately the crowd don’t look as enthusiastic, barely even nodding their heads. They produce track after track of strong Pop Punk tracks, mixing in a great combination of melodic vocals and screaming. They have a lot of passion but their lack of experience with crowds harms the atmosphere somewhat. They aren’t a bad band and the drunk 16 year old me would have started a pit with ease; I look forward to checking them out later.

Set It Off are the next band to hit the stage. A self-proclaimed orchestra infused pop rock band from Tampa Florida who are signed to Equal Vision Records, they have a serious amount of high profile tours under their belt. Taking to the stage with the likes of My Chemical Romance, A Day to Remember and Say Anything to name a few, it came as no surprise that these guys knew how to put on a show. They enter to a backing track reminiscent of early Panic At The Disco’s orchestral instrumentals, and start out a little more subtly than Like Torches. Lead Singer Cody Carson fills the room with his incredibly powerful vocals, immediate in captivating the audience which is now nearing three quarters full. Set It Off are an incredibly tight band both musically and in stage presence, performing synchronised guitar spins and throwing their guitars around like they’re a dime a dozen. Cody, who is dressed in a shirt and tie, begins to give the crowd a speech about following their dreams and telling the man to go fuck himself, and you begin to see that this band have a flare for theatrics. You start to get the impression this is a fully pre prepared band; everything down to the crowd banter feels rehearsed and almost Disney-esque. It’s working though, as they have the crowd eating out their hands. As the last song approaches Yellowcard Drummer Longineu Parsons joins mid song and helps them finish with a bang.

Yellowcard are the final act to take to the stage. Yellowcard haven’t performed in the UK since their tour with Saves the Day in the back end of 2011. After releasing Southern Air in August 2012 and announcements about a new record already in the pipeline this relatively small UK tour was quite highly anticipated. It’s clear that Yellowcard is the reason all these people are here as the room is now full and the balcony is highly populated. As they enter, the room erupts as Ryan Key proclaims he has two things to say ‘Put your camera’s away – they will get broken, and if I see anyone not moving the show is over’.

They blast into the first song like they have performed it a million times before. They have so much confidence and energy it is unreal. Yellowcard don’t falter as the show moves forward, this is a band with maturity and the experience to get a crowd moving. Compared to Set It Off there seems to be a natural vibe to Yellowcard, it looks like they are completely comfortable and at home playing in front of this 1500 strong crowd. It’s great to see a band that have been performing so long still really loving every second of performing, the smile on violinist Sean Mackin doesn’t drop for the entire set as he constantly tells the crowd how much he is enjoying being there. Longineu Parson’s drumming is exceptional as he constantly juggles sticks in the background, and his mid set Drum Solo is mind blowingly good. The Ocean Avenue tracks get the same response as the Southern Air tracks, and the room is jumping up and down so much the sprung floor of the Ritz feels like you’re standing on a water bed. There isn’t much left to say about this band that isn’t anything other than exceptional. Yellowcard couldn’t have put on a better show.

Venue: The Ritz, Manchester
Support Band: Like Torches, Set It Off

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