by Nikki Hunt
Yellowcard wasted no time jumping into its nearly two hour set last night at House of Blues, opening with “Awakening” and “Surface of the Sun,” the first two tracks off its newest album Southern Air. The energy continued from there with the crowd-pleasing “Way Away.” It wasn’t until after the fifth song, “Shrink the World,” that the band took a breath, as singer Ryan Key then restarted the “nonstop rocking” with a “traditional Yellowcard circle pit” for yet another new song “Rivertown Blues.” Later, the band performed “Holly Wood Died” with the help of a string orchestra (on a backing track). Key explained that violinist Sean Mackin writes all the classical string chords, and “since an entire orchestra won’t fit on stage, we backed it to play tonight.” It was clearly a lesser known song by the sold out crowd, but the round of applause for Mackin proved it a hit. An acoustic version of “I Will Wait,” a Mumford & Sons cover, slowed things down around the middle of the set. “We don’t usually do covers because we don’t like to conform. I mean, we have a violinist,” Key said. Though the song gave the band a breather, the audience continued to crowd surf through it, something it managed to do every song of the night.
The closing of the set felt like a new show starting. The violin solos in “Believe” had the crowd going as if were the first song of the night. Mackin started “Lights and Sounds” with an on stage back-flip, and “Only One” turned into the loudest sing along of the night, coupled with an array of swaying hands. The last song before the encore was title track “Southern Air,” followed by Key thanking everyone for coming out, because it meant “the fucking world” to them. After chants of “one more song” and “Yellowcard” from the pit, the band came back for a three song encore that started with “Sing for Me.” Key thanked everyone for singing along, especially anyone who knew about that song from last year’s Yellowcard show (the track is dedicated to Key’s aunt, who passed away the morning of the band’s last House of Blues Cleveland show). Finally, the show ended with “Ocean Avenue,” and the band delivered it with so much energy and enthusiasm it could have been the only song of the night and the crowd would have left happy.