Yellowcard – Leeds Cockpit

By paul

You can always tell when it’s half term – town centres are heaving with fresh-faced youths congregating outside Boots as one of their mates tries to nick off with a lipstick, leisure centres are packed with rubber rings and the roads are far quieter on the way to work in a morning. Now you can add that gigs are full of pre-pubescents to the list too. The Cockpit played host to two bands last night as YELLOWCARD marked their first ever day in the UK with a stop off in Leeds. The turnout was disappointingly low, and probably made up of more five-year-olds than a local creche, but still, there’s no way this bunch will play in a venue this small ever again. If there were 150 people in attendance I’d be surprised.

THE LONGSHOTS are a local band who played the Carling Stage at last year’s Leeds Fest and just like that hot summer’s day I walked in to see them starting their last song. I hear good things about them, even if they are ridiculously cliched by wearing matching shirts and ties, but without any evidence to go on I’m afraid there’s a no score.

YELLOWCARD have not had a good day. After playing in Germany the night before, customs officials decided not to let the band have any of their instruments on the plane they were catching to the UK – meaning everything they use is rented. The violin is falling to bits and the band spend 20 or so minutes tuning things before they start. The jury is hung as to whether Yellowcard are good or not – people I spoke to before the gig certainly weren’t expecting anything special – but by the end they were changed. The quintet don’t do anything life changing and won’t go on to sell millions, but if you are after bouncy pop-punk anthems with a difference, all played with a massive dose of fun, Yellowcard will entertain you. Frontman Ryan has a solid voice and the guitars are cleverly used. But what sets the band apart from the myriad of clone pop-punk bands is the violin – used sparingly it makes everything sound fresher and different. The drums are extremely solid too, inducing circle pits from the hyperactive teens intent on making full use of their night out without mum and dad in tow. The band stick to their new ‘Ocean Avenue’ album for the most part with ‘Way Away’ and ‘Life Of A Salesman’ sticking out – but the classic ‘Sure Short’ and closing ‘October Nights’ go down a treat. There’s energy in abundance and a lot of people sing along too, probably surprising the band. ‘The Finish Line’ sounded ace but the lack of ‘Star Struck’ and their cover of ‘Everything’ left me wanting that little bit more. Still, for just ΒΆΕ“6 Yellowcard provided over an hour’s worth of fun that left most people smiling. (8)

The band tour the UK this week and then return with Less Than Jake in May – expect them to win over many new fans with their no-frills smilecore…