Concert review by Chris Graue
On March 3, 2012 New Found Glory with Yellowcard hit the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, Ca. This bill sounds more fitting of 2002 than 2012 show, but tell that to the packed house at the MusInk Festival at the OC Fairgrounds last weekend. These two veteran acts have outlasted most of their peers from their heyday, but are continuing to perform and release stellar material that could well fit into any previous point of their careers.
From what I’ve been told, another act named Bayside actually opened this show and there were other musical acts as well as tattoo related festivities scattered throughout the day, but I can confirm none of this. I found it far more prudent to plow through a box of Ralph’s bakery donuts (discounted for expedited sale) and then ride the insulin train to coma land on the couch while watching Nick Kroll’s comedy special on Netflix. But I digress.
I stumbled out of my stupor and into the venue to find Yellowcard about to take the stage. They came strong out of the gates, not sounding like a band with a brand new bass player, but one that was tight, well rehearsed, and ready for action. The sine wave of this energy emanating from the stage, however, seemed only to reach about 20 feet into the crowd. Beyond that, a sea of folded arm stoics.
Sensing this, violinist Sean Mackin agitated the people into moving. It makes sense that he’d be particularly sensitive to a lack of motion as, with his frequent leaping and bouncing, he is somewhat the band’s Tigger. He requested a circle pit from one end of the room to the other, but seemed satisfied when a much more sane – but still large – sized one emerged in the center of the floor.
I wish I remembered which song he did this for, but it didn’t matter as the momentum got lost by changing gears to the relatively balladic “Only One.” A small section of the pit did stay alive, but this was also the pocket of the crowd where I smelled the most weed. And body odor. Oh, and those flying cups all night? Yeah, the fat bitch with partially pink hair that was throwing them was over in that section. I saw her. Come to think of it, that was a terrible place to stand.
Anyway, Yellowcard started stepping the energy up again, rocking “Breathing” and a non stop flow of hits to their closer (“ Ocean Avenue ,” if you couldn’t guess), and the crowd really came to life. At one point, I started thinking of criticizing the amount of reverb the sound guy elected to apply to Ryan Key’s vocals, but then I realized that what I was hearing was not a technological manipulation of the sound. No, it had little to do with Ryan’s voice at all, but everything to do with him. He was not simply singing, but conducting the massive choir before him.
What I was hearing was the echo of a thousand voices shouting out EVERY SINGLE LYRIC with such precision that it was nearly indistinguishable from the band itself. The show had escalated from being a concert performed for the people to one in which we were all participating. The cried a little, but I’m not sure if it was from the beauty or the sheer mass of the donut-onset constipation that was forming in my bowels.
The masses were so sufficiently warmed up that New Found Glory probably could have come on stage and finger painted some fire trucks and no one would have noticed, but they played music instead! How cool of them. Now, the pits were much more spontaneous. And forceful. This is probably a natural consequence of the greater intensity of NFG’s sound, but I credit Yellowcard for doing their job right so that this could happen right from the top of the set.
And boy, did they bring it. NFG let up only twice from “Understatement” to “My Friends Over You.” Once was so that singer Jordan Pundik could tell us how unexpectedly spicy the cheeseballs he ate on stage were, and the other was the “let’s walk off the stage so they ask us back for an encore” routine. Needless to say, it worked.
The highlight of the encore had to be the cover of Green Day’s “Basketcase.” Sometimes these larger bands will fake their way through covers at the end of the set out of arrogance or a feeling that it will go off well enough, but these boys clearly put the effort in to make this song fly. In addition to nailing the song, they added a few punchier hardcore elements into the bridge that really made the song their own. The same could be said for their earlier in the set cover of “Blitzkrieg Bop.”
Perhaps more surprising than the unrelenting pace from the stage was that the crowd showed no signs of weariness throughout. Well into the stretch of the set where most bands would experiment with boring the audience with untested material, crowd surfers raged on like they were just getting started. One girl actually got a few feet of air. She dropped out of sight immediately. I think I saw her later, but she may have just died. I’ll never know.
It’d be fair to assume this show was a day late and a decade short, but being there proved to me that both of these bands have a lot of legs in the scene left to run on. Perhaps this was best demonstrated by the onslaught of attractive females bee lining for the backstage area the second the final chord was rung. Washed up, second-rate bands don’t pull that kind of tail. I tried to muscle my way back there, but some overly sweaty security guard hassled me with some line about not having the right color wristband. Hey, New Found Glory, how’s about getting ME one of them backstage passes next time around? What, am I not sexy enough for you? WHAT’S WRONG WITH MY SUCCULENT MAN TITS, CHAD ?
Where was I? Oh yeah. This show rocked. Sucks if you missed it.