Yellowcard and Less Than Jake are both bands that have worked hard over the years to make their mark on the scene and the fans that come with it. Respectively 18 and 23 years into their careers, the bands have done a great job at not only inspiring fans, but influencing the creation of several new artists – Less Than Jake’s Vinnie Fiorello was even the original founder of the Fueled By Ramen label, which has seen the rise of bands like Fall Out Boy and Paramore. Both bands took to the stage at London’s KOKO earlier this month as part of a co-headline effort that brought two very distinct types of fans together.
Yellowcard played first, offering a setlist that was a mix of tracks off their most recent album Lift A Sail, the first since the departure of drummer Longineu Parsons (who has now been replaced live by ex-Thursday drummer Tucker Rule), and older, fan favourites that did an excellent job of opening up a pit in the crowd. The first few songs were dedicated to the new album, which didn’t really see the audience participate much, but as the quartet swiftly led in to the title track of their 2006 album Lights and Sounds, people began to get on their feet. A couple of groups of people oddly began shouting football chants, which the rest of the crowd seemed to be half-amused, half-confused by, but otherwise the band were received incredibly well by the fans before them.
The set carried on through the likes of ‘Rough Landing, Holly’ and ‘Only One’, as well as the better known single from Lift A Sail, ‘Make Me So’. Naturally, tracks like ‘Way Away’ and ‘Ocean Avenue’ from the band’s 2003 platinum album Ocean Avenue were saved until last, making sure that the crowd were sent in to overdrive to close out the set. The band’s age yet continued commercial success means their fan base is made up of both older listeners and young teens, but the evening panned out well with everyone coming together in unison to enjoy such a legendary band and what they had to deliver.
Less Than Jake played the second spot, providing a tight set of Florida ska punk. Their setlist, on paper, seemed notably longer than Yellowcard’s, but it was honestly down to the fact that a number of Less Than Jake’s songs don’t even meet the two minute mark. Hits like ‘The Science Of Selling Yourself Short’ from the band’s most commercially successful album Anthem (2003) and ‘All My Best Friends Are Metalheads’ made an appearance, as well as gag songs such as ‘Pac Man Cereal’ and ‘Plastic Cup Politics’ which really prove how fun the quintet really are live, despite the fact they’ve been around for so long.
Their crowd, mostly made up of rowdy guys – likely the aforementioned football fans, almost tore the venue apart with their rigorous moves, while others watched from the bar, entertained. Less Than Jake and their reggae-influenced rock sound are a far cry from Yellowcard and their pure rock vibe, so it seemed like while one band were on, the other’s fans didn’t quite know what to do with themselves. With that being said, even those who weren’t quite familiar with Less Than Jake were notably enjoying the set as it progressed, and an encore was called for the outfit – though it was a given, seeing as an announcement boomed out across the room confirming that the band would be taking back to the stage shortly after.
As things wrapped up, it was clear to see that whoever came up with the idea of these two phenomenal bands playing together was a genius. Their years together, performing successfully have proved their talent and hard work doesn’t go unnoticed, and those present at KOKO for the show would likely agree.