Last night, Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale partied like it was 2003.
Veteran pop-punk outfits Yellowcard and New Found Glory returned to their native state for a sweaty and triumphant rock show. Hailing from Jacksonville and nearby Coral Springs, respectively, the pair hosted a beer soaked party at the downtown venue that allowed all of the bros to cut loose for several hours on a balmy Wednesday evening. Joining them was another veteran group, Pennsylvania-based fellow punks, Tigers Jaw.
In anticipation of the enormity of the sold out show, Revolution doubled up on space available. Organizers opened the doors to Stache, the next door whisky bar connected to the club via a small hallway containing the women's bathrooms, to filter the crowd. It also housed the merchandise tables of all three bands and provided a bigger area for the meet and greet that took place before the concert. It also helped to keep the cold air from escaping during a particularly humid night — or at least it did until the exit doors were left open to allow the smokers to choke on their cancer.
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Up first was Tigers Jaw. The Scranton duo, Ben Walsh and Brianna Collins, flesh out their melodic alternative sound on stage by expanding into a five-piece. Like an emo mashup of The New Pornographers and The Early November, Tigers Jaw played a solid collection of heartfelt songs. Lead singer and guitarist Walsh exhibited the same sort of vocal and lyrical earnesty that the headliners are typically known for, perhaps even more so. Nowhere was that more evident than on their cover of The Cure's “In Between Days.” It was the ideal blend of guitar-driven grit and saccharine sentimentality. (Surprisingly, not too many in the audience knew the song, which may be sadder than anything The Cure ever wrote.)
By the time Yellowcard took the stage, it was clear that even with the additional space carved out, every nook and cranny was filled with heaving bodies, people damn near hanging from the balconies on the second floor. An electric excitement buzzed through the crowd for both Yellowcard and NFG, as fans reminisced about past shows.
Yellowcard erupted from the darkness like each member had been shot out of a canon and on to the pair of risers at the foot of the stage. The platforms served dual purposes: They were great props for rock star posing, jumping, and gymnastics and they also allowed the band to connect with the poor sods stuck in the view-obscured rear of the room. Frontman and lead singer Ryan Key and violinist Sean Mackin took advantage of them the most. Mackin was especially mobile, doubling as the hype man, cheering on the crowd, getting them pumped when he wasn't busy providing the band's signature string section.
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Although the doors opened at seven, New Found Glory didn't hit the stage until just after ten. As part of their intro, they flashed all of their album covers on a giant video screen as if to remind the crowd what they were there for. It was hardly necessary. The moment they appeared, the room went nuts. Vocalist and human-orangutan hybrid Jordan Pundik responded accordingly. A barely restrained version of all of the dudes belting out his songs back at him, it didn't take long for Pundik to abandon the stage, which was obviously not big enough, and crawl into the drenched, waiting arms of the audience. In between songs, NFG waxed nostalgic, thinking back to their own youth spent attending rock shows at Revolution.
It was fitting commentary considering so many last night took a trip down the punk-pop rabbit hole of yesteryear, the path illuminated by a dizzying number of rainbow LEDs and all of their favorite late '90s/early 2000s radio-friendly punk songs. This was a grown-up version of the Vans Warped Tour: same enthusiasm, less pimples, and more drunken white boys throwing their empty beer cups haphazardly into the air, nailing unsuspecting fellow bros still contemplating what to do with their empty beer cups.
While it's true that punk-pop's heyday is long gone, when it comes to these two bands, in the hearts of their fans, that's far from the case. In fact, the music has even found some new life through Yellowcard and New Found Glory. Yes, there was the balding middle aged man bouncing and tossing up the metal horns with his hands, but there was also the kid who'd just entered the peach fuzz phase of puberty. Both Yellowcard and New Found Glory provided the raucous, plucky soundtracks to whatever kind of Wednesday night either type of fan had planned.
Although neither band is from Fort Lauderdale, the fervor of the rabid bands in a packed house was evidence that all of Florida belonged to these bands and, regardless of the year, whenever Yellowcard and/or New Found Glory play South Florida, it's sure to be a warm homecoming.