The Observatory OC was almost a packed house when pop punk band, The Downtown Fiction, took the stage to open for the night’s supporting act SoCal locals, Finch and headliner Yellowcard on May 9.
Originally from Fairfax, Va., The Downtown Fiction sang “Thanks for Nothing,” “Kiss My Friends” and “Santa Cruz,” all of which the crowd enjoyed while singing along.
A majority of the audience was in their mid to late twenties—except for one child who attended with his parent and had ear plugs in the entire time.
About 15 minutes after The Downtown Fiction’s set ended, Finch’s lead singer, Nate Barcalow, hyped up the crowd as they grew increasingly more “hardcore.” He walked in circles a lot while singing the first song and even sang right on the edge of the stage sending the crowd wild.
When Finch finally sang one of their better-known songs, “I Miss You,” the crowd sang along. “Finch, Finch, Finch!” was chanted by the crowd. The drum rolled for a long time as the audience continued to cheer and clap as they walked off the stage.
In-between set music played but was stopped abruptly as the audience cheered when violinist, Sean Mackin, walked out and held his violin in the air and began to play a solo.
Ryan Key came out next and the crowd continued to grow louder as he stood center stage with hands up, encouraging everyone to make more noise.
The overall atmosphere was a very high energy crowd as Yellowcard sang a mix of their music through the years—the audience responded the most to their older songs such as “Only One” and “Way Away” (the one that a successful mosh pit formed out of excitement).
Between songs, Key spoke to the crowd about getting off their phones while they played their set and said, “If you want to Tinder at the show… You f***ing Tinder!”
He also thanked the fans for coming out and continuing to support the band throughout the years, even though some of them may have only known their biggest album, Ocean Avenue from 2003.
“I know some of you might have heard we were playing and were like ‘Ocean’s Boulevard! That’s my jam when I was 11 years old!’” Key exclaimed jokingly, “But even if you don’t know our newer songs, sing at me tonight…whatever you want to sing.”
Key mentioned that during the process of writing the last album, they were all going through a lot of heavy things so they were able to put so much emotion into it.
Makin chimed in to say that Southern California has a special place in their hearts because the first show they ever sold out was at Chain Reaction in Anaheim.
Lead guitarist Ryan Mendez had tonsillitis and pneumonia but was a trooper for continuing to play during their tour—no one had even noticed until Key announced it halfway through their set.
With just a few songs left, the band exited the stage and left just Key and his keyboard to thank the crowd for keeping it alive over the past 15 years by singing a love song for California. This particular number clearly showed how talented of a musician and vocalist he is. Cellphone flashlights lit up the crowd as Key played on.
Per tradition for what seems to be every headlining act, Key thanks the crowd and leaves the stage, only leaving the audience wanting more and cheering “One more song!”
Instead they sang three encore songs and ended with everyone singing “Ocean Avenue”. The mosh pit grew bigger and wilder, and many people crowd surfed as well. There were over 20 crowd surfers—the most in one song than during the entire set and some even deciding to take selfies while doing so.
This particular show is what most every Yellowcard fan would expect from the band. They kept the energy high and played their hearts out the entire time.
With their latest album “Lift a Sail” out now, it’s time to say bye to only knowing them from Ocean Avenue and sail into a bright horizon with their new music.