with Like Torches, Dryjacket
House of Blues; Orlando, FL • November 22, 2016
by Jen Cray
Yellowcard announced their upcoming breakup back in June, but have since headlined Warped Tour, released a swan song final album, and have been spreading goodbyes all across the country on a massive victory lap Final World Tour. Celebrating 20 years as one of pop punk’s darlings, Yellowcard– who uniquely boast a violinist as one of their key members — were rather vague in their decision to close the book on the band, but all signs seem to point to the idea that it was just time. Their last pair of shows in the States — before heading overseas and then down under — were here in Orlando, in the Jacksonville band’s home state. Needless to say, those shows were sell-outs.
With boundless energy that bordered on mania, the band savored their time onstage with the appreciation that can only come from someone about to say goodbye to it all. And the audience reacted in kind. “An old fashioned Orlando circle pit,” began to turn — at frontman Ryan Key’s urging — and as the setlist touched upon some of the more popular songs (especially those off of 2003’s Ocean Avenue) the level of bittersweet hysteria only increased — with shouts of “NO!” answering back to Key’s references to the band’s breakup. By show’s end (they closed out with the song “Ocean Avenue”) the Orlando House of Blues felt like the tearjerking climax of a Nicholas Sparks book, even for casual fans who maybe just came along for the ride.
Also on the bill was NJ’s Dryjacket whose experimental emo sounds had moments of intrique, mostly in the instrumental intervals, but it was Sweden’s Like Torches who were the real happy surprise of this tour. Playing emotionally driven pop punk (a la Yellowcard) with the kind of fervor and sense of show that reminded me of My Chemical Romance in their heyday (minus the theatrics), the exotic blond imports were impossible to resist. This is their first tour of the States, and is sure to be a career-maker.
When did emo pop punk become such a nostalgic delight? I can’t say for certain, but it has and I’m just gonna roll with it. It’s way more fun to sing along than to criticize it.