Music brings people together, yet it is also a very clear divider… sometimes at the same time. One Night in Cape Town was just such an occasion. On the one hand there were the metal heads – a subculture characterised for their passion for their music, their boots and their studs. On the other hand there were the Yellowcard fans – a group so varied you wouldn’t be able to pick them out in a lineup. I found myself in the latter category. I became a Yellowcard fan back in the days when MTV still focussed on music in favour of reality shows on underage pregnancies. Ocean Avenue played in a loop on my CD player back then but somehow it never made the transmission onto the iPod.
The 2013 version of Yellowcard leaned slightly more to the punk than the pop and proved to be somewhat sharp. They proclaimed to be just as surprised to be opening for the Deftones and endeavoured to warm up the crowd – even those “with their chins in their hands”. The band knew who the majority of the crowd was there to see but that did not deter them from giving the minority a kick ass show. Yellowcard introduced songs from their new album such as ‘Here I Am Alive’ by teaching the crowd the chorus. They like crowd participation and – unusual for Cape Town – the crowd happily complied until lead singer Ryan Key tried to initiate a circle moshpit. Now he’d crossed a line. The fact that South Africans do not like moving from their spot is information that should be highlighted on the fact sheet given to visiting musicians, especially the American ones. We fight for our spots to ensure the best view of the band that we never though we’ll see live and/or to ensure the best position from which to pounce into a better spot for the next band. On that very stage even Jared Leto could not make the crowd create a circle. Yellowcard did not have this information on their fact sheet and they were very disappointed in us. There was some name calling (“You’re the only country that doesn’t participate”) and a threat (“We’re going to tell Johannesburg”). We just snickered at that last one; at my very first international gig at Johannesburg’s Coca Cola Dome, Fall Out Boy had failed miserably at this as well. At last Yellowcard gave up and wisely let the music dictate the moves from that point.
The standout moment of the evening was the performance of ‘Only One’. In the music video of that song Key and a girl walk with a huge crowd in a protest march. He never takes his eyes off her. Watching a live performance beautifully brought together the reality of seeing the band live and the years of being a fan. But no, I did not look at my significant other during the song because I am not completely corny. And it’s a breakup song. Yellowcard was merely the filling to the rocking sandwich that was this year’s One Night in Cape Town, the mothercity’s consolation prize for Northham’s Oppikoppi. Manchester Orchestra kicked off the evening by defying the concept of orchestra with their brand of indie-rock-with-a-hint-of-screamo. Despite the enthusiasm of the Yellowcard fans, the Grand Arena only really filled up when Deftones took the stage. Before then the numerous Deftones fans waited patiently outside for Chino Moreno to fill the auditorium with his deadly growl. For the Capetonians who missed both One Night In Cape Town and the train to Oppikoppi, the good news is that there is one more shot at a Hilltop outing at the end of this month when Billy Talent takes over City Hall.
*Photos by Warren Talmarkes Photography
This review was also featured on WhatsoninCapeTown.com