Concert review: All Time Low and Yellowcard at House of Blues, Orlando (with photos)

[image-1]Yellowcard is one of those bands that sound just as good on stage as they do on disc. Lead singer Ryan Key, who underwent surgery to remove a cyst on his vocal chords a few years back, sounded better than ever. Guitarist Sean O’Donnell and bassist Ryan Mendez worked perfectly together. Longineau Parsons, the drummer, never stopped and played with a concentration and intensity that blew me away. And violinist Sean Mackin [pictured left], who composes and conducts every orchestral part on every Yellowcard record, managed to keep that bow on those strings in just the right place despite the fact that he was running around and jumping up and down all throughout the set.

Every member of the band exuded a high-energy vibe that was electrifying enough to make me almost forget about being groped by the people around me. Mendez and Mackin constantly interacted with the crowd, shaking hands and smiling with the light of recognition in their eyes at the few fans they seemed to remember from past shows. They played two new songs, “For You, and Your Denial” and “Hang You Up,” each delivered as if they’d been playing them for years, Key trading in his electric guitar for the soulfulness of his acoustic for “Hang You Up.” The rest of the set drew heavily from their 2003 hit record, Ocean Avenue, and among the highlights were “Way Away,” a song with a rebellious feel to it that always makes the crowd jump, and “Believe,” which is dedicated to our troops. As always, they concluded with "Ocean Avenue," and as always, I felt like the end came far too soon.

[image-2]When All Time Low [pictured right] finally hit the stage, the sheer volume of screams that erupted from the crowd vibrated throughout the entire room.

If you’re easily offended, an All Time Low show probably isn’t for you. Their performance was broken up by a series of shockingly crude, perverted jokes, and I couldn’t imagine being there with my mother, like so many of the under-agers in attendance were.

All Time Low's light effects were amazing, however, with dozens of spotlights splashing bright, multi-colored hues onto the stage in time with the music. It really added to the performance.

The band kicked-off the set with “Time Bomb,” off their fourth and latest studio album, 2011's Dirty Work, which is due out June 7.  The three songs that followed pumped up the room's already super high-energy -- “Stella,” “The Beach” and “Damned if I Do Ya (Damned if I Don’t).” The band brought out Hey Monday frontwoman Cassadee Blake to sing the female parts in the hopeful balladry of “Remembering Sunday,” which seemed to delight the audience.

[image-3]The band's carefree demeanor and penchant for joke-telling revealed their ability to roll with the punches, particularly when someone tossed a Justin Bieber doll onto the stage and they incorporated it into the night's antics. I had to give the musicians credit for their collective sense-of-humors despite the cringe-worthiness of a nightly tradition that involved collecting bras from female fans and hanging them like victory flags from their mic stands.

After charging through a setlist of 15 songs, Gaskarth’s vocals sounding crisp and spot-on the whole time, All Time Low left the stage without playing some of their biggest hits. The crowd, mostly seasoned veterans of All Time Low concerts, knew something was up and began chanting "One more song, one more song!"

From behind the curtain, lead singer Alex Gaskarth and guitarist Jack Barakat could be heard on their mics talking about how they were just too tired to play any more. Then, much to the satisfaction of their fans, they returned and busted out two of their biggest hits: “Weightless" and "Dear Maria." While they weren't quite as lively as Yellowcard (a band that had much to prove after their time away), All Time Low managed to delivered a rock-solid show.

More photos by Tracy:

YellowcardAll Time Low

Review by Libby Smith; photos by Tracy May.

The day I was due to check out All Time Low and Yellowcard as part of their "The Dirty Work Tour" in Orlando dawned crisp and clear with nary a cloud in the sky, a big difference from the previous day’s nasty weather. Good thing, too, since I'd planned to spend the majority of it waiting in line to get into the House of Blues, where I was in for a very interesting experience.

The doors opened just before 6 p.m., and the massive herd of scenester kids pushed their way inside like their lives depended on it. I ended up in the third row, not too thrilling since I’ve always been right up front for previous Yellowcard shows, but at least I was close.

I couldn’t tell you the first thing about the first two opening bands, Summer Set and Hey Monday, because I was too busy trying to keep myself from getting crushed. Almost as soon the music started, I was pushed forward off my feet and slammed into the people in front of me. At one point, I was sure I was about to break a rib.

It was intense but all worth it once Yellowcard [pictured right] hit the stage. I hadn’t seen them in three years; they'd gone on a hiatus indefinitely, then returned this year with a new record, When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes, which Absolute Punk called the most anticipated pop-punk release of the year.

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