Review: Yellowcard &Less Than Jake @ 02 Academy
Then it started, the song of my teenage years, the song that had been with me from the first moment I found the genre I loved so much, Ocean Avenue. From the very first chord the crowd knew what was being played and reacted accordingly. Shouts and screams almost drowned out the song but Yellowcard powered through and delivered a performance worthy of my 12 year wait to see them live. It was the climax of the night, despite Less Than Jake playing last, and something I doubt any of the attendees will ever forget.
I was on my own, as I usually am when I go see music. I guess that’s a by-product of listening to bands a lot of people claim to have “grown out” of. Not me though, and not the passionate, upbeat and friendly fans I met waiting in line outside the 02.
Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! Kicked the night off with a bang, and I really mean a bang. Pop punk has always had close ties to heavier genres of music so it’s no surprise to see a metal/easy/popcore band on the line up. Their cover of All Star, originally by Smash Mouth, was easily recognisable yet pleasingly original. The crowd seemed a little tentative before that and but this shocked them to life. It was very reminiscent of a night in Alpha from then on.
As a teen you’re always looking for something to define you from the crowd, make you different and unique. Yellowcard’s violin inclusion does just that. It resonates within so many people for that very reason. It gave their music dynamism, and it made their performance one of the best I’ve ever seen. From Way Away to the more contemporary Transmission Home and Awakening, everything they played was a hit. Perhaps lead singer Ryan Key’s vocals top out a little lower than they used to but it was a minor stumbling block to an otherwise amazing night.
On any other night Less Than Jake would have completely stole the show. They mixed their well-known songs in perfectly with some more obscure ones so the crowd’s energy never dropped off. Offbeat genres such as ska pop punk can often not translate well into live performances, with so many different elements, usually foreign to each other, needing to come together. Less Than Jake entwined each instrument into the other seamlessly which makes you wonder why more bands haven’t attempted or been more successful with it.
My only grievance with the show is that Yellowcard was not on last. I considered them the bigger band and after their performance Less Than Jake seemed ever so slightly anticlimactic. Nevertheless, the night was one I will never forget and if you get a chance to see any of these bands I highly recommend it.