Technical difficulties turn green light to yellow for punk rockers

Yellowcard *** (3 stars out of 6); February 11 at Lille Vega

Vega welcomed the return of Yellowcard to the Danish capital with open arms, who delivered an eclectic blend of ear-clinging pop-punk, spanning from the early days until recent times. Unfortunately, technical problems riddled what otherwise was quite a good performance. Despite Yellowcard’s lengthy set, there were few surprises to be witnessed. The crowd ultimately left satisfied, but not much more than that.

The audience was a mix of newer and younger adolescent fans, and a generous proportion of mid-twenties looking for nostalgia. For a large number of people, the early 2000s were synonymous with the pop-punk explosion, when bands like Blink 182 and Greenday spawned an uprising of similar three-chord progression punk bands that dealt with themes like teen anxiety, rebellious youth, and generally unadulterated slapstick fun. Yellowcard did, however, escape the stereotype, mainly due to their intriguing addition of the violin to their soundscape. Yellowcard were a refreshing take on a genre that can often be difficult to defend, mainly due to its simplicity in structure. And yet, Yellowcard proved through their performance, and their survival throughout the the first decade of the century, that pop punk can and should be taken seriously.

Swedish emo-rockers Like Torches and the welsh sextet The Blackout warmed up the stage. Like Torches played with enthusiasm and delivered a few fist pumping tracks, yet their sound was occasionally raunchy. The Blackout excited the audience with their party attitude, especially due to one of the main vocalist’s love of performing in the middle of the auditorium, like a drunken fan of his own music, mingling with the rather static crowd.

Yellowcard entered the stage right after 22:00, and opened with ‘Awakening’, followed by the rip-roaring ‘Surface of the sun’. Unfortunately the instruments and vocalist were calibrated incorrectly, making the vocals distant and impersonal. Thankfully the technicians got back into gear immediately before Yellowcard dropped one of its best hands in the form of the breakthrough single ‘Way Away’. Midway through the set, fans were asked to join in a sing-along with Yellowcard, the newest single ‘Here I am Alive’ was very well received and the crowd bounced in a synchronised fashion, smiles were bountiful, and one could almost forget it was an ice cold Monday evening.

The star of the night was without a doubt, Longineu W. Parsons III, the dreadlocked madman hiding behind the animal skins. Parsons’ drum skills were consistent, tight and kept everything flowing even at times of technical problems. His performance was highlighted by his very well-deserved drum solo. Following the solo, a couple of very personal songs were played from their earlier days, one of the more invigorating highlights being ‘Believe’, a song dedicated to fire fighters from  September 11. After a solid 17-song set, Yellowcard departed the stage, but returned to the joy of eager fans yearning for their grand single ‘Ocean Avenue’.

Yellowcard entertained the crowd, especially by their curious observation of Denmark being the country with most babies and strollers they had ever witnessed. The concert was a pleasant and fun affair with a quite simple yet invigorating sound. Hopefully next time the band visits Copenhagen, however, there will be no yellow cards given for bad sound quality.

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