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Yellowcard Spring Acoustic Tour packs Greene Street

by Heather MacIntyre

It’s one of those nights where one only wishes Greene Street was slightly bigger. Thursday night. Downtown. Sold out. A line is already wrapped down the street and around the corner before dinnertime. Fans from the Triad and beyond gather for the much-anticipated 2008 Yellowcard Spring Acoustic Tour (yellowcardrock.com).

“I’ve seen them before, but never acoustic. This show was perfect for switching it up with their entire tour performance. I wouldn’t hesitate to see them next time either,” 17-year-old Leah Lebow remarks. She drove from Statesville and declares, “It was more than worth it.” Hers wasn’t the furthest drive either; music-lovers from Tennessee, Virginia and South Carolina admitted the same road trip to a venue that hasn’t let them down yet. Old, new and transformed fans experienced a very smart arrangement without the usual drums and distortion.

Finally, something notably different from the usual pop rock: a more personal experience. The show presented an overall clear and engaging sound for the strings of violin, cello, and guitars. Number by number, not only could you finally hear every word of the live show, but each anthem projected a different feeling with the removal and redesign of the instrument program. And if you never get to see the shows because of the towering person positioned directly in front of you, we have more good news: Greene Street’s recent addition of three substantial flat-screen TVs overhead, giving a mock-coliseum touch to the show.

The tour started March 7 and will continue into mid April, with Greensboro as their halfway point.

Guitarist and vocalist Dan Wade, from the opening band Treaty of Paris (treatyofparismusic.com), explained a new term to fans complaining of missing their early 5:30 p.m. set. It’s called “Disco Load Out.” No one likes these situations, neither bands nor fans. Wade explains, “It’s when a concert has to start and end at an earlier time because of an event immediately following that was booked at the same venue.” Tonight also happens to be college night at the club, and the bands joke about wanting to stay after to dance, but most of them know the agenda: sell merchandise, pack up and head out to the next city.

The Spill Canvas (thespillcanvas.com) is one of the most talked-about bands this year, and other groups admit they’ll probably survive 2008 on top. Though their live show quickly warmed the crowd into a constant going and growing state before Yellowcard, their lyrics and individuality on their more recent album No Really, I’m Fine remains less than impressive. This is only one of the many examples to shine the light on the difference between artists and performers, because it’s getting more difficult by the day to tell the difference between talent and what’s simply entertaining.

The overall show was favorable for Yellowcard fans, and a smart move to turn the tour acoustic, though it wasn’t completely a freely made decision. I talked to Ryan Mendez of Yellowcard for a while on what caused this change.

“Our drummer [Longineu Parsons III] is back home in Florida. He is very close to his sick grandmother, and has been taking care of her for a while. Family first is always important,” says Mendez. Interrupting the serious note, I look over as one of the opening bands exhibit just how immature and desperate for money younger touring bands can be: They are auctioning off bandmates to be hit in the face by passers by who aren’t interested in buying their album. Of course no one takes them up on this offer, but it definitely brings wanted attention to their booth.

Instead of wasting time to leave the stage with a well-known intention to return for an encore, singer Ryan Key gets right into it. He announces that they will stay and finish the show without interruption (perhaps running out of time for Disco Load Out?). The smell of ready-opened Sharpie markers invades the senses on the second floor as an ending to the evening. Kids depart high off the night and the fumes, autographed head to toe.

For questions or comments, e-mail Heather MacIntyre at Heather@yesweekly.com

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