Here I go, scream my lungs out…
Yellowcard’s fans hugged each other close and not just because it was unseasonably chilly for a Texas “autumn.” Tonight, everyone at Austin’s Historic Scoot Inn was inching closer to their friends and fan-family as they celebrated the bittersweet ending of an era. After 20 years of new music and time on the road, Yellowcard – the alt rockers who made waves for featuring the atypical rock band instrument of the violin – are calling it quits.
Hearing the band pour their gratitude to their fans into the beautiful “Only One” couldn’t help but bring the crowd closer together as they too sang their lungs out in thanks for all the band has given. Their time, their words, their inspiration and so much more. It brought a tear to more than one eye. It definitely brought one to mine.
For me, I first heard of Yellowcard when I was a kid just entering middle school. For my district, this was the time that instruments were picked. My older brother had chosen band and I was expected to follow suit, but I had always loved the sound of strings and was drawn to the orchestra. My parents were a little confused — didn’t I want to march in the middle of football games? Didn’t I want the option to play in the church band? What if I wanted to be a rocker? Wasn’t the violin a little stuffy and limiting? No, i wanted to play violin. Discovering Yellowcard was an epiphany. It made the violin “cool.” It just made me more excited than ever to have chosen the violin. As I grew as a musician, I sat at home working my fingers through the notes of “Breathing” one night and a Beethoven symphony the next. With Yellowcard, I found more than just another record. I found life.
Cut back to Austin and the Historic Scoot Inn: a line weaves around the venue with fans not wanting to miss a note but also wanting to guarantee that they’d get their lost shot of Yellowcard merch. One final piece of nostalgia to hang on to with our old CDs and Spotify playlists.
“I feel like I always took Yellowcard for granted. I figured they’d always just be there.” My friend whispered to me midway through the show. And as the band played through “Rough Landing Holly”, I couldn’t help but agree. At this point in the show, it didn’t seem real yet. The bad was playing as fully as ever. Big drums, rapid bow movements and singer Ryan Key stepping out on a speaker to reach out to toward the audience. It seemed so normal — tight in technique, yet fresh in energy. Even with the musicians who have come, gone and come back to the band, it seemed like they’d always be around. Aren’t bands that are quitting supposed to be a little jaded? Dead in the eyes? Not these guys.
They began swapping out set pieces for a mid-set slowdown. It was time for some of their more emotional, personal songs and they were performing them more bare bones. A lot of times, when bands put in slower tunes, the energy of the show dissipates slightly. Here, the energy felt more nervous. What were songs about family members going through sickness or heartbreak were now songs where each word started to feel like a goodbye note to the fans. The loyal Yellowcard crowd did their duty and supplied their own backing vocals to songs like “Sing For Me” and “Empty Apartment”, doing their best to also tell the band through their own singing how much they meant.
I remember the look in your eyes when you told me that this was goodbye…farewell, Yellowcard. May your band name “Rest in Peace,” but your music live forever.
Yellowcard Set List:
Lights * Sounds
Five Becomes Four
Rest in Peace
Rough Landing Holly
Light Up the Sky
Sing for Me
Place We Set Afire
Lift a Sail
Gifts and Curses
Cut Me Mick
Sleep in the Snow
Hang You Up
Be the Young