Yellowcard @ Summit Music Hall, 11/11/14

Photos & Review: Yellowcard
Featuring: Yellowcard, Memphis May Fire & Emarosa
Summit Music Hall, Denver, CO. 11/11/14

Photos and Review by: Shannon Shumaker

Despite the cold, fans of all ages braved the first snowfall of the season and lined up early outside of Summit Music Hall for Yellowcard’s headlining show in support of their new album, Lift A Sail. Before the doors even opened, the show promised to be an interesting one, if nothing else, as the lineup was simply unheard of. Never before would I have imagined a bill consisting of Yellowcard, Memphis May Fire, and Emarosa, but somehow, all three bands managed to pull it off amazingly, erasing lines between genres and fans.

The first band to perform was Emarosa, and they absolutely did not disappoint. Seconds into their first song, “People Like Me, We Just Don’t Play,” vocalist Bradley Walden was leaping off of the stage and into the crowd, belting out the lyrics with fans and setting the bar incredibly high for the other two bands to follow. Throughout their set, Walden nearly spent just as much time singing in the crowd as he did on stage, and by the third song, he was perched on the edge of the venue’s balcony as the crowd watched in awe.

With such an explosive performance from Emarosa, I was curious to see how Memphis May Fire would follow up, and judging by the crowd’s reaction to their performance, they didn’t disappoint. While vocalist Matty Mullins was significantly less animated on stage compared to Walden, his vocals were spot on throughout the band’s entire set. I thought that their performance lacked the same sort of spark as Emarosa’s had, but the die-hard fans of Memphis May Fire definitely weren’t complaining, and that’s all that really matters.

Throughout their set, Mullins made a point to address the unusual lineup of the show, joking and apologizing for possibly “scaring” Yellowcard’s fans before diving into one of their slower tracks, “Miles Away,” which he dedicated to any military veterans in the crowd, in honor of Veteran’s day. Mullins also made a point later in their set to discuss the bill’s lineup even further, saying that they were told that the lineup would never work, that, “Yellowcard fans and Memphis May Fire fans could never be in the same room with one another.” He continued by dedicating the band’s next song to the music industry, because, “they’re never right.”

After Memphis May Fire’s set, a few of their fans trickled out, leaving for the night instead of sticking around to watch Yellowcard’s performance, but surprisingly, much of the crowd remained. It was especially nice to see that some kids sporting Memphis May Fire’s shirts stuck around after their set, even if they weren’t familiar with any of Yellowcard’s songs. Hell, maybe Mullins was right.

Instead of starting off with a bang, an introduction, or bright lights illuminating the venue (as many bands seem to do nowadays) Yellowcard kicked off their set in the best way possible. As the lights dimmed and the crowd hushed, violinist Sean Mackin, silhouetted by one blue light, began playing the first notes of “Convocation,” the first track on Lift A Sail, starting off the band's set in a gorgeous, theatrical way. And by the time the drums came in on the band's second song, “Transmission Home,” the venue came alive. Yellowcard played four songs before even addressing the crowd, but fans didn’t mind as they belted the lyrics along with the band.

Having seen Yellowcard quite a few times in the past year, I think it’s safe to say that this was the most emotional performance I’ve seen from the band, and it was clear why. Much of Lift A Sail’s lyrical content is about vocalist Ryan Key’s wife and her recent injury, which he made clear to the crowd before diving into any of their new tracks, especially the band’s single “One Bedroom,” and their final, emotional song, “California.” The passion and emotion from the band was palpable throughout their entire set, and that was easily the best thing about their entire performance.

Despite one major technical difficulty before the band was joined on stage by Matty Mullins for “The Deepest Well,” their sound was spot on and their energy was high. Like Mullins, Key made a point to discuss the lineup of the tour, especially before playing "The Deepest Well," and the response from the crowd was absolutely incredible.

While it’s hard to tell what this unusual lineup could mean for mixed genre tours in the future, one thing is for certain; Yellowcard and Memphis May Fire have definitely pulled this one off. While at first, I had been a little worried about the difference in genres, all three bands on the bill made it look simple, which makes me hope that more shows like this will happen in the future. It would definitely be nice to see bands bringing people of all ages and backgrounds together for more concerts. It could be a great chance to really unify the music scene, and these three bands are definitely on the right track.