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September 27, 2022

Last Week Live: Runner Runner, Yellowcard, Good Charlotte

June 27, 2011

The double-feature headlining show of Yellowcard-Good Charlotte was a blast from our collective misunderstood, middle-school past. Which is not to say that it was an unfulfilling experience. Not at all.  Most of the concert attendees left Rams Head Live! with that secret, shameless part of our soul satiated.

Some details to set the scene: the average age (taken by briefly scanning the venue) fell within the 20-30 years bracket, excepting the women’s bathroom, where the age took a sharp downturn and fell to about 15. The most ubiquitous beverage: Bud Light. Most common accessory: raccoon makeup. The atmosphere: polite but enthusiastic.  The moshing was less of a frenzy and more of a strange, tidal sway. The show sold out, and several unlucky fans were turned away at the door.

Cali band Runner Runner opened for the one-two headlining punch.  A relatively new outfit cobbled together from the remains of other bands (Over It, Rufio, Don’t Look Down), the five-piece began as a side project for a “skatepunk” band, but the lure of electropop and the promise of playing with synthesizers grew too much for them to resist.

Monday night saw the band taking on Rams Head’s rowdy, enthusiastic crowd. Along with popular singles “So Obvious,” “Unstoppable,” and “Hey Alli,” Runner Runner also played lesser known tracks from their self-titled debut album. The catchy melodies paired with the lighter synthetic dancebeats translated easily from studio to stage, though the simplistic bass-lines and derivative electro harmonics were a let down. “Hey Alli,” with its slowed-down, balladic appeal and bare-bones synth presence held up best live. With only one full-length LP under their belt, the band played a limited set that lasted little more than half an hour.

Yellowcard, the band that defined the angst of middle school love in their radio hit “Ocean Avenue,” fared better. With a much more punk presence than previously remembered, the band filed onstage to ominous long-tones reminiscent of Nolan’s Inception soundtrack.  The pop-punk/alt-rock outfit committed to a high energy performance, complete with synchronized guitar-bass leaps, headbanging, and aggressive fist pumping.

With a set that lasted a little over an hour, Yellowcard more than made up for the shortness of Runner Runner’s half-hour performance. They played songs from the entire span of their career - an auditory montage that stretched from their debut full length in 2002 to their newest release When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes in 2010. Crowd favorites were “Light up the Sky” and, of course, the ubiquitous “Ocean Avenue.” Despite their two year hiatus and the long set, singer Ryan Key’s voice held up remarkably well while the band (which included the violin that seemed so out of place in 2002) never lost energy.

The night was a success, at least by Rams Head standards.  With a sold out show and an appreciative crowd that balanced crowd surfing with suitable caution, the management really couldn’t have wanted more.

***Unfortunately, since the reviewer had work the following day, she was unable to stay to watch the Good Charlotte set.

- Hsia-Ting Chang, Arts&Entertainment Editor

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