Since 1997, Yellowcard shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, they seem to have raised the bar since their beginning years in the late â€˜90s.
Opening band, Emarosa, from Lexington, Kentucky featured six musicians, adding drummer Branden Morgan and rhythm guitarist Matthew Marcellus to the usual quartet. This band moves nonstop onstage, jumping around every chance they got. Singer Bradley Scott Walden must not have thought Emarosa jumping up and down would be enough to get the crowd pumped up for the rest of the bill, because he proceeded to get on the rail in front of fans multiple times throughout the set,Â deliveringÂ what Walden was looking for.
Memphis May Fire, from Dallas, Texas took the stage next and kept the crowdâ€™s energy and involvement high and constant. With a blend of screaming and singing provided by Matty Mullins and guitaristÂ Kellen McGregor, members running from one end of the stage to the other, bassist Cory Elder jumping inches off the ground multiple times, and an overall upbeat tempo which had the crowd constantly headbanging and moshing, Memphis May Fire played as if they were the headliner.
The crowd sang along with Matty for the majority of their songs and even had the chance to sing without MullinsÂ a couple times when he let the fans take over for a few lines, causingÂ each band member to grin from ear-to-ear. McGregorâ€™s higher pitched voice blended well with Mullinsâ€™ guttural screams and created great melodies throughout the set. Fog machines and risers helped add to the enormous stage presence of this metalcore band. Memphis May Fire must have been just as satisfied with their performance as the crowd was, as Mullins commented, â€œThis is by far my favorite show on this tour so far.â€
By the time Yellowcard took the stage, the fans were already hot and sweaty from the high energy upkeep of the show. These five guys originally from Jacksonville, Florida took advantage of the fact this was a home state show and, since Orlando is only about two hours away from Jacksonville,Â the crowd helped to make Yellowcard feel at home with plenty of representation. Fans were screaming their lungs out to songs while leaning over the rail and using it to propel themselves up to jump along with the music. Where Emarosa and Memphis May Fire were jumping centimeters and inches off the ground, Yellowcard was doing so in feet. In fact, violinist Sean Mackin used the drum riser to perform his signature backflip before their third song of the set. Each member of Yellowcard was their own fireball of energy onstage and as a whole, they were unstoppable.
For one of the songs, all of the band members took turns on the keyboard for their own little segment of the track, aside from drummer Tucker Rule. There was a lot of talk from both Memphis May Fire and Yellowcard management before this tour as to whether or not the fans of each band would get along during a show, but the atmosphere and interactions in this venue were clear evidence of a peaceful coexistence. Both bands wanted to further cement knowingÂ their respective fan bases would get along justÂ fine with each other, so Yellowcard featured Memphis May Fire singer Matty Mullins on one of their tracks off their album Lift A Sail titled, â€œThe Deepest Well.â€ UponÂ singer Ryan Key announcing Mullins was coming out to help with the next song, not a fan of either band in the venue was silent.
Before they began their final song before the encore, Key announced for everyone to â€œPlease donâ€™t leave after you guys hear this song, there is more,â€ and the excitement could be heard in the crowd before Ryan Mendez could even play the first chord of, “Ocean Avenue.” For the one encore song of the night, Key came out alone and dedicated the piano ballad, â€œCalifornia,â€ to his wife, Alyona Alekhina, a professional snowboarder from Russia who suffered a paralyzing spinal cord injury a few months ago. When Ryan Key was finished singing, he invited all the members of each of the bands who performed that night to come up onstage for a group photo.Â All the guys then proceeded to jump off the stage and into the photo pit before the rail to take a giant fan photo, creating a memorable way to close off the night.
This article was originally published in Backstage VIPs.