“I’m here reaching out again,
Lead into the wind on my knees
My fear is a memory
It’s a reverie and I’m free

I wanna take this crown from my head,
I wanna build something with my hands

I will send a transmission home
To say that I’ve been out here too long alone
And I wanna come down now
I will send a transmission home
To say I should have called in so long ago
And I wanna come down.”

~Transmission Home
Yellowcard, Lift a Sail 
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I am going to have the privilege of seeing Yellowcard this Saturday, checking off a 12-year concert goal from my ever-growing, never-shrinking list of artists I hope to see live.

A lot of people know Yellowcard from their “Ocean Avenue” days – their true breakthrough in the scene back in 2003 – but I’ve kept an ear on them since and they’re almost a more influential band to me now, in my late 20s, than they were in my teens. Sure, I played the hell out of “Only One” back in the day (and I still do!!)  but the added depth and maturity of their later work is really worth digging into.

Their sound has evolved into one that’s much fuller, and less catering to the (expertly done) fiddle trope they built their reputation. New Yellowcard is an unfiltered brand of rock music, but one that’s rooted in a very emo and scene place, enough to be warm and familiar and more melodic than what you might find on the radio or wherever that boring brand of rock music lives (you know, the kind for large men with pick-up trucks and arm band tattoos. I’m generalizing, but you get the idea).

Last year’s “Lift a Sail” has grown on me so much – it’s a record that definitely needs some time to familiarize with because at first it does feel very “collection of songs” and therefore easy to dismiss. But I found myself seeking out their hooks and choruses and key changes. As much as I’ve grown to appreciate its solemn reflection and anthematic choruses, though, this isn’t my favorite record of theirs. That goes to “Paper Walls,” a record I’ve played more in the past year than I have in the previous seven. Why it took me so long to get attached to I cannot say, but “Fighting,” “Shadows and Regrets” and “You and Me and One Spotlight” are now some of my favorite songs in their catalog. I can’t wait to see if they’re still in the band’s rotation.

I’m hoping to get a new appreciation for their musicianship – but most of all I’m just hoping for that feeling you get at concerts sometimes, the one where you know the songs before they start, sing too loud, get lost in a crowd, and feel like you’re home. Coming from a band like this, that I discovered years ago in a different place but will always associate with the place I am now, that feeling is as timeless, freeing and grounding as you can hope to find in a life full of moving parts and morphing attitudes.

“I heard, heard myself
Say things I take back
If I could, could retell
And make these stories last
I see, see shadows
Of who you’ll always be
I drive, drive these roads
Made of memories

When we were only kids
And we were best of friends
And we hoped for the best
And let go from the rest
Shadows and regrets
We let go from the rest.”

~Shadows and Regrets
Yellowcard, Paper Walls