Do you like punk rock? If so this was a show for you. For me this is like my Mecca when it comes to the rock scene.
Opening up the night for the joint headliners that are the legendary Less Than Jake and a band that have truly paid their dues, Yellowcard, was Chunk! No Captain Chunk! These fresh faced puck rockers from France are probably known only to a select proportion of the audience, however, their performance defiantly earned them some more fans. Blending a classic pop-puck style with metal and hardcore punk rock, these guys are one to keep an eye on for the future.
For tonight’s joint headline show, it’s the turn of Yellowcard to take the stage first, and it became very clear that a fair amount of the audience were here for them. Yellowcard joined Less Than Jake on tour back in 2002 in a supporting role, but now they have payed their dues and are now joint headliners. Pop-punk has been their style for sometime, however, their 2014 album Lift The Sail demonstrates how the band can, and have evolved. The set opens with the opening track from Lift The Sail, ‘Conviction’. Just short of 2 minutes this intro comes from the bands violinist Sean Mackin just before the second track from Lift The Sail, ‘Transmission Home’ kicks in. Setting the tone for the sort of show Ryan Key and crew have in store for us, they clearly want to showcase the more mature sound they’ve gone for.
While most of the set was new material, the audience was itching for past favourites and, of course, Yellowcard are more then happy to appease the masses with tracks such as ‘Only One’, ‘Light Up The Sky’ and other fan favourites. Ryan Key then shows us his true ability as a song writer with California a truly wonderful solo performance resulting in the classic lighters in the air, well mobile phone lights as is now the norm. Yellowcard finish with 2 songs the whole venue is now sweating to hear, ‘Way Away’ and ‘Ocean Avenue’, so of course the venue starts to shake like some kind of natural disaster is occurring. Yellowcard have done their fans proud with tonight’s performance.
Check out Yellowcard’s video for ‘Ocean Avenue’ here.
Now it’s the turn of the veteran ska-punkers Less Than Jake. These guys have never had a problem with playing a great show with plenty of jokes and banter and of course audience participation. The set kicks straight of with ‘Look What Happened’ and the crowd quite literally loose their shit! The energy continues with ‘Nervous In The Ally’ and ‘The Ghosts Of Me And You’, which was even accompanied by the lighting of the disco ball suspended above the audience. The set is littered with old and new tunes. Of course, for me, it’s not a Less Than Jake show without hearing my personal favourite ‘Automatic’. Forget the audience that’s going nuts right now, I myself lose control and start to dance around the table I’m by earning me some odd looks by others near me. At this point I care not, I’m just having fun and enjoying one of my most top rated bands of all time. Following this Less Than Jake give us a very old skool classic, ‘Sugar In Your Gas Tank’, and the energy of not just myself, but the rest of the audience down in the mosh pit, kicks up to 11. The only point the show slows down is for ‘The Science Of Selling Yourself Short’ where, again, I witness a sea of lights from smartphones across the room.
After a few more tracks, where the energy of the audience has again raised to 11, Less Than Jake announce that they are now recording the theme for Pac Man Cereal. Now this is cool news to hear, but for the UK fans it sadly means very little as not only will we never get to experience this on British TV but neither will we will get to enjoy this cereal as it is not widely available in the UK. Aside from this, it is still exciting news as is the chance to listen to what will be in store. We are treated to 3 more top tracks before they leave the stage including the epic ‘Gainesville Rock City’. Surely this isn’t the end? Of course not, why would Less Than Jake fail to play ‘All My Best Friends Are Metalheads’? We get just that for an encore just after ‘History Of A Boring Town’ and, to close, just for good measure, we again get their version of the Pac Man Cereal theme.
This was one hell of a show, and if you’ve never seen either Yellowcard or Less Than Jake, it’s time to make sure you do as you’re missing out big time!
Check out Less Than Jake’s video for ‘Gainsville Rock City’ here.