LIVE REVIEW: Yellowcard, Finch & One OK Rock At Wooly’s in Des Moines, Iowa (4/10/15)

yellowcard 2015 live columbia mo

The roughly 700-person capacity Wooly’s music venue in Des Moines’ historic East Village was on fire last Friday for the high-energy triple-punch show of Yellowcard, Finch, and One OK Rock.

One OK Rock sufficed in warming the crowd up with their set of aggressive rock songs. The crowd seemed receptive and impressed with the band’s performance, despite many still flooding in as their set wrapped and Finch began to take the stage. The crowd, mostly mid-20-somethings looking to hold on to a bit of nostalgic pop-punk lore, were fun during this set. Not too over the top (that comes later, obviously), but by no means did they appear bored during a set of mostly unknown material.

Finch took the stage for their 45-minute set, mixing discography old and new, to a crowd that turned awfully luke-warm during the band’s performance. Finch is a fantastic set, and of course there were fans opening up some shoving and pushing on the floor during the post-hardcore outfit’s more vicarious bridges, but the majority of people didn’t receive it the way Finch deserves to be received.

finch live 2015

We’re talking about a band that delivered some of the best songs of a generation — and is still writing fantastic music (did you hear 2014’s Back To Oblivion?!). It’s not like the crowd was totally dead or the band seemed off — neither of those took place. It just would’ve been nice to see a little more energy given back to the band from the crowd. Songs like “What It Is To Burn” and new favorite “Anywhere But Here” are not tracks to merely watch standing still.

finch live 2015

After all — what’s the point of going to a show if you’re not going to move? Kudos to Finch for delivering a stellar set of their best material, despite a crowd best described as “meh.”

After the dust on stage settled from Finch’s performance — Yellowcard took the venue by storm. Yellowcard is, and always has been, a force to be reckoned with live. Armed with a back catalogue of some of the most energetic songs in the game, if you leave a Yellowcard show without being sweated-wet, you’re doing something wrong.

yellowcard live 2015

The band opened with a collection of new, beautiful numbers off of their 2014 release, Lift A Sail, including “Convocation,” “Transmission Home” and “Crash The Gate.” These songs transition well live. There’s not the pop-punk “crunch” you hear in other Yellowcard songs — but the infectious elements delivered by Ryan Key and co. are as undeniable as ever.

“The most exciting thing for us is to be able to share music with you,” Key, the band’s frontman, told the audience during a set break. “When we were working on Lift A Sail we were going through some of the most intense life experiences.”

yellowcard live 2015

Key insisted the crowd — which was the first advance sell-out of the tour — sing as loud as possible, that they bang their heads, and that they let loose for a rock ‘n’ roll show. A master hype man for his band’s show, he acted as a conductor — treating the audience as his performers, encouraging them to embrace all of Yellowcard’s material that night, new and old.

And there were plenty of old tracks played. Songs like “Awakening” from 2011’s Southern Air and “Believe” from 2003’s Ocean Avenue did justice to fill the crowd’s need of hearing old Yellowcard. None hit quite as hard pre-encore as fan favorite “Lights and Sounds.”

yellowcard live 2015

The triple encore of “Fighting,” “Way Away,” and “Ocean Avenue” capped off an energetic, engaging, and outright fun 90-minute set from the band.

“Thanks for blowing our fucking minds,” Key told the crowd during the encore.

No, Ryan. Thank you for blowing ours.

yellowcard 2015

*Photos courtesy of Amber Nichole Thiessen, shot in Columbia, MO on 4/7/2015.
Review by Matthew Leimkuehler (@callinghomematt)

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