Live Review: Less Than Jake/Yellowcard – Leeds 02 Academy

March 14th was the final night of a Floridian invasion of the United Kingdom. Yellowcard and Less Than Jake joined forces to bring a co-headlining night of pop-punk and ska to the 02 Academy in Leeds, bringing with them French pop-punk/hardcore quintet, Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!

Taking to the stage not long after the very early doors were Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!, given the task of the opening support to rile the crowd up. They slightly achieved this goal, mostly through a cover of Smash Mouth’s timeless classic, “All Star.” With continued efforts to get the crowd going, they were mostly static and quite sparse throughout the set until some movement for the bands final song “In Friends We Trust.” 

Second up were Yellowcard, who were given a more generous welcome after violinist Sean Mackin took to the dark stage playing the intro from “Convocation,” the opening track from their latest album Lift A Sail. They, unfortunately, had to pause their set not long after their start to break up a fight in the front of the crowd. Trying to pick the show back up again, frontman Ryan Key exclaims “Leeds, are you ready to burn this fucker down?!”

As the crowd filled up, the band then took up issue with people on the outskirts of the audience texting during their set. In another attempt to get the crowd engaged, Ryan declared that “no one goes home with a fucking voice. If you don’t know the words, make them up!” Though Yellowcard played a solid set and were far from static on the stage, the crowd just weren’t fully responding until the end of their set when they whipped out their classics “Way Away” and “Ocean Avenue.”

The night didn’t get into full swing until Less Than Jake took to the stage, opening right off the bat with “Look What Happened” and “Nervous In The Alley.” These songs were just what the crowd needed to get moving. It was evident within ten minutes of their set that Less Than Jake have learnt a lot from their near twenty years of visiting the UK, especially since they know how much the British love cannons that fire toilet paper all over a room. From then on out, the place didn’t stop shaking, filled to the brim with old songs, because even the band themselves realise they are better.

The show also had the standard traits of a LTJ show including, but not limited to, self depreciating humour, jokes aimed at kids with Justin Bieber hair and abuse aimed at the security  like “the security are actually passing out water, that’s pretty cool… Normally they just beat the shit out of you.” The night was made much more of a spectacle due to the help of bin bags filled with balloons being released, an Evolution Kid mascot dancing on stage and a stage full of people doing the dance to the infamously 80s Pacman Cereal advert.

The show was a strange one seeing as it didn’t seem to liven up until Less Than Jake took to the stage, which isn’t often the case with a co-headlining tour. Through no real fault of either Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! or Yellowcard, they just failed to properly motivate the crowd during their sets. But Less Than Jake pulled through. as they always do, with a memorable performance.

Rating: 5.5 Slices out of 8

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