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Yellowcard Teases New Music; Ocean Avenue 20th Anniversary

After over twenty years in the game, Yellowcard opened the Ocean Avenue 20th Anniversary Tour at Baltimore’s Pier Six Pavillion to a sold-out crowd. Filled with millennials, many of which with young children who proudly sported their own band t-shirts, the crowd was very enthusiastic and energetic despite the 90-degree smoldering weather. Attendees loudly cheered throughout the show, singing their hearts out with their fellow “Elder Emos” who were more than happy to battle the heat and enjoy the music they grew up with.

Yellowcard band photo
Yellowcard - Photo credit: Acacia Evans

The Ocean Avenue 20th Anniversary Tour has been many years in the making. Despite music trends coming and going, many people still hold true to the classics, keeping the names of iconic bands from the early 2000s alive through dedicated streaming and events like Emo Nite and acts like Warped Tour the Band. The tour symbolized the timelessness of songs like Ocean Avenue, still garnering a big enough audience to pack a venue like Pier Six Pavillion which holds up to 4,600 occupants.

Ryan Key of Yellowcard performing live on stage at Pier Six Pavilion on July 5, 2023
Ryan Key of Yellowcard performing live on stage at Pier Six Pavilion on July 5, 2023 - photo courtesy of Lesley Ang
Derek Sanders of Mayday Parade performing live on stage at Pier Six Pavilion on July 5, 2023
Derek Sanders of Mayday Parade performing live on stage at Pier Six Pavilion on July 5, 2023 - photo courtesy of Lesley Ang

Before the final encore, Yellowcard’s lead singer and guitarist Ryan Key called the audience’s attention before sincerely declaring that the band was here to stay because this is what they love to do. We can expect many more albums from the pop punk alums as they continue through the rest of the anniversary tour with many sold-out dates. Key recalls the shock of hearing most of the tour would take place in stadiums and didn’t expect this turnout due to the time out of the spotlight.

Dan Marsala of Story of the Year performing live on stage at Pier Six Pavilion on July 5, 2023
Dan Marsala of Story of the Year performing live on stage at Pier Six Pavilion on July 5, 2023 - photo courtesy of Lesley Ang

The band has expressed a renewed vigor during this permanent return to music. The timing is perfect as the pop punk space has seen a revival with many bands returning to live shows and with the large number of rock music festivals held throughout the US. Of those festivals, the popular When We Were Young festival which takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada, will see Yellowcard as part of the two day lineup alongside a plethora of emo music icons like New Found Glory, Simple Plan, and Motion City Soundtrack.

While the tour marks the start of Yellowcard’s return to the music scene, consider the release of Childhood Eyes their official launch. The five-track album sounds like nostalgia to everyone who’s already a fan, but the sound also welcomes in a wave of new fans who never let the genre die down. The “Childhood Eyes” music video had already been released earlier this summer amassing over 200 thousand views with positive reactions across the board thanks to the band’s ability to create new music without changing their sound. As noted by Key, this album is meant to be a continuation of their previous release “Paper Walls.”

The new EP features iconic vocalists Vic Fuentes of Pierce the Veil and Chris Carrabba from Dashboard Confessional. The collaboration with these two artists is more than symbolic to fans as Pierce the Veil emerged during the “Golden Years” for emo music, and Dashboard Confessional shares a similar fanbase to Yellowcard as an alternative/indie band since 1999. The two bands, Yellowcard and Dashboard Confessional, emerged within two years of each other and became part of the most recognizable names of the emo music era.

Key has mentioned previously that approaching music now as an older adult is different than how it was before. His talent for lyric-writing has aged with him as there is a noticeable point to show the progression of time that has passed. Most prominent in the final track “The Places We’ll Go” (featuring Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional), the lyrics focused on the passage of time, even citing the fleeting two decades and the struggle to find oneself during the nineties. Whether this track is meant to be romantic or not, this track sounds like an ode to the fans who may have been waiting for the band to return.

Childhood Eyes is exactly what every pop punk fan would expect from a band who’s over twenty years in the game, but it’s also what many are unable to accomplish due to the evolving tastes and standards for music. Yellowcard continues to produce high quality alternative rock suited for radio. While it may take longer for tracks to hit stations, they are determined to continue doing what they love for the fans who still love them – even after over twenty years.

This EP should be considered the soundtrack of the summer, reminding everyone of all those years we spent standing in line for Warped Tour. The sweltering heat, the Xs on our hands, and the euphoria of seeing all your favorite bands in one venue for the next ten hours – what more can Elder Emos expect other than more emo focused music festivals?

Yellowcard released the Childhood Eyes EP on July 21, 2023. The Ocean Avenue 20th Anniversary Tour continues through mid-August before their appearance at the When We Were Young Festival in October.

Childhood Eyes is available now on major streaming platforms like YouTube, Spotify, and Apple Music.

Lesley Ang Headshot for Alchemical Records

Lesley Ang

Native New Yorker and Yankees fan, Lesley Ang is a freelance writer and social media strategist. She currently writes across several platforms with works featured on NextShark and Metal Temple.

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