By now we're super used to going to concerts in Cape Town - so used to it that we've become complacent. Going to a concert used to be a week-long hysteria fest, including a road/plane trip, a hotel room, and 5 or so hours worth of queuing. Now we simply pop down the road to the venue, don't even both with a "OMG 5 days to go" countdown on Facebook, and barely bother to analyse the band's tweets for possible creeping sessions. But none the less, a concert is a concert...
And so the day of One Night In Cape Town arrived (ie: Yellowcard day), and we left home a whopping hour and a half before gates opened, spent an hour of that in traffic, and then slowly ambled through Grand West to the arena, where we still managed to be close enough to the front of the queue to get a side barrier spot. Easy game.
First up: Manchester Orchestra, playing to all of three rows of standing crowd and absolutely empty seats. Ouch. But then, I'd only heard of them once before, and that was because some member of the Parlotones mentioned them in a tweet, and The Parlotones like The Killers, so they must have great music taste, right? Clearly I'm right, because the band isn't half bad, although I do miss a few songs by going on a search for Coke (of the legal sort)... note to self: please remember to eat on concert day next time.
So Yellowcard are on in approximately 20 minutes, and perhaps 50 more people have entered the arena. The rest are all chilling outside with their beers, waiting for Deftones, which is absolutely fine - it's the ones inside the arena that I have an issue with, but I'll get to that. Between sets, the playlist is composed of everything from Bring Me The Horizon, to Green Day, to Foo Fighers...yeah, just about every band I've seen live recently. Concert addiction, what concert addiction? I am completely normal.
Cue dimming of the lights, and Yellowcard hitting their first South African stage ... to the applause of about 5 people. Sometimes you're in a bad crowd, and you know it, but the band don't. This was absolutely not the case here.
"There are about 30 people asleep on the barricade..." Says lead singer, Ryan. My heart drops for him. The band have flown 16 hours to be here for this show, the least the crowd could do is at least look a little enthusiastic. Musicians don't owe you anything, they're not doing you any favours by being on stage in front of you, and the fact that you paid money to be there does not give you the right to act any way you want. I'm not saying you have no know all the songs, or sing along, but at least crack a freaking smile if you're at the barrier, and shout a clap just a little bit! I've been in the crowd for bands I wasn't 100% keen on, but it's really not cool to let the band see that you feel that way. They're the ones doing YOU a favour.
Despite Ryan's attempts to get the crowd to engage ("Do you want to be the only country that doesn't make a mosh circle?"), almost everything feel flat, and he ended up having to teach the audience the chorus of 'Here I Am Alive' so that they could attempt a sing-along. It was honestly and truly a disgraceful crowd. I can only hope that the few of us that did bother to look like we were having fun managed to make an impression.
Rockstar violinist Sean is certainly having the time of his life on stage, and we definitely make eye contact with the bass player because of Lauren's extensive Yellowcard lyric knowledge. Ha. He's totally impressed.
Their 13 song set including their well known songs (well, at least I thought they were the well known ones, you'd never have guessed...) 'Light Up The Sky' and 'Way Away' to newer releases including the super catchy 'Here I Am Alive' of course had to close with their biggest hit, 'Ocean Avenue'.
Yellowcard really are quite an interesting band: from the fact that they walked on stage to the Star Wars theme and their Yoda reference in 'Surface of the Sun', to the very existence of their rockstar violinist, they're unique and different, but in a cool way.
We manage to stick around for one Deftones songs, simply so that we can say "We've seen Deftones", before sneaking away. And yes, that is perfectly okay. We watched from the back and then left, instead of standing at the barrier and glaring at Chino. You don't like a band, you leave, end of story.