By Mike Shomaker, DC Music Live
Grabbing the microphone, lead singer and guitarist Ryan Key looks out over the sweat-drenched crowd crammed up against the Kia Soul Stage as ill-timed crowd surfers make their way to the front. “It’s been 10 years since we first played Warped Tour,” he shouts between songs of their brief, but enthralling set. “Thanks for coming out and continuing to support us—this is our last one.” The crowd erupts with enthusiasm and the band rips into their closer, “Ocean Avenue.”
There’s nothing like seeing a veteran band play Warped Tour (RELATED STORIES: Vans Warped Tour Makes A Stop At Merriweather). Years pass, thousands of miles are traveled, multiple albums released—there are plenty of bands that pay their dues to Warped, move on and achieve super stardom. And rightfully so. But it’s humbling to see a band like Yellowcard, a model for everything that is right with rock, come back for yet another sweaty roundabout on the scene’s most revered tour. With their new album Southern Air set for release next week and a fall tour on the horizon, Yellowcard seems as eager and youthful as they did when they first played Warped a decade ago.
For every band, playing Warped Tour is unique, whether it be your first time, or fifteenth. Ryan Mendez, Yellowcard guitarist joined the band in 2005.
“It’s funny Ryan [Key] mentioned this being 10 years since we first played. I was with another band then and we also played Warped in 2002. We were pulling a trailer with a station wagon. It was hot and cramped,” he says with a chuckle.
Though Mendez and his band mates tour through the summer swelter in an air-conditioned mobile mini-mansion, selling millions of records and touring with rock’s
biggest names haven’t changed their perception of Warped.
“We love coming out here. Everyone has been great and very supportive. The fans have been awesome,” Mendez says. “We’re super close with the guys in All Time Low, we hang out with them. We all saw the Batman movie together. A lot of our friends are out here.”
As soon as Warped Tour wraps up, Yellowcard will kick into high gear, slating several shows in Europe before returning for a US tour this fall to promote the new album alongside The Wonder Years and We Are The In Crowd. So far, says Mendez, the response to Southern Air’s first single, “Always Summer” and the opening track, “Awakening,” which released last month, have received positive remarks.
“It’s a very high energy album. [“Awakening”] is full of emotion and we’re excited about it. I can’t wait for its release.”
Thankfully we still have kickass bands like Yellowcard making music and playing Warped Tour. Be sure to check out Southern Air when it releases August 14 and go see them on this fall.