Written by Jared Stossel.
Let's take a step back to 2008: my first Vans Warped Tour. After my friend forgot the tickets and my Mom had to turn around halfway to the venue in traffic to go and get them on the other side of town (thanks again, Mom), my friends and I were ready to experience our first Vans Warped Tour. Walking through the gates of Shoreline Amphitheater and seeing the punk rock circus was overwhelming to say the least.
As my friends and I tried to navigate the stage where a brand new, up and coming band called A Day To Remember would be playing (no, I'm not kidding; there was a time when this band was small and not dominating arenas), I heard an incredibly familiar song begin at a stage down the hill. The lyrics to a song called "Jamie All Over" rang out throughout the tent-filled area. Within seconds, myself and everyone around me stopped and immediately ran towards the stage. The funny thing is, I don't even know if the band had an intro. Maybe I was just distracted, but I felt like they just ran out on stage and started playing. The area in front of the stage began to flood with people, all screaming along with the band.
This was my first introduction to Mayday Parade. I've seen them countless times over the years: numerous Warped Tours, tours in venues both small and large. I've seen them headline, and I've seen them open. There is no band that is more unifying in the pop-rock world than Mayday Parade. If you meet a fan, they know exactly the same emotions that you first felt when you pushed play on A Lesson In Romantics, the band's debut album. They know this because they felt the exact same way. With twelve tracks that lament over past relationships, heartbreak, angst, and just about every other emotion known to human kind, A Lesson In Romantics is a masterpiece in its own right.
Mayday Parade were originally formed in 2005, merging two local Tallahassee bands: Kid Named Chicago (vocalist/guitarist Jason Lancaster, guitarist Alex Garcia, drummer Jake Bundrick) and Defining Moment (vocalist Derek Sanders, guitarist Brooks Betters, bassist Jeremy Lenzo). After releasing an EP, Tales Told By Dead Friends in 2006 (which features a few earlier versions of tracks that ended up on the album), the band followed the Vans Warped Tour throughout the entire summer, meeting fans and selling copies of the EP waiting in line to get in. The final sales count at the end of the tour? Around 10,000 copies. All while the band were writing material, on the road, that would become their debut album.
This caught the attention of label Fearless Records, whom the band are still signed to today. Their hard work was paying off, and their success would only continue once they finished their studio sessions for A Lesson In Romantics. The band entered Tree Sound, a studio in Atlanta, GA, in January 2007 to lay down the foundation tracks. The sessions were engineered and produced by Zack Odom and Kenneth Mount, and took on material surrounding "being in a relationship while you're on the road, and the different hardships that come with that," according to an interview the band dd with the Lansing State Journal in 2007.
With incredibly tight musicianship, near-immaculate production, and co-vocal lines from Derek Sanders and Jason Lancaster), the album went on to become a fan favorite. More tours and opportunities came about for the band, as the album debuted at number eight on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart, remaining there for six weeks. While it dropped off, it returned on July 12, 2008 and remained there for seventy consecutive weeks. The album has since sold over 200,000 copies, and has even spawned a reissue, featuring acoustic versions of "Three Cheers For Five Years" and "One Man Drinking Games" as bonus tracks.
While the success was incredible, Jason Lancaster left the band in March of 2007. The band have carried on as a five-piece since that time, with Jeremy Lenzo and Jake Bundrick taking over respective vocal parts on songs from the Lesson era of the band. For some hardcore fans, it may feel a bit weird seeing this tour without Lancaster on co-vocal duties. But I honestly wouldn't let that deter you from heading out to a date of this tour. You're going to see a snapshot of music history when the guys take the stage to perform A Lesson In Romantics from start to finish. Mayday Parade have grown as a band in an incredible way since their inception, but there's just something so special about this album and the emotions that it evokes from fans, no matter how many years go by.
Ten year tours have become incredibly prevalent, as I've said many times before, but if you can only pick one to go to, I'd make this the one. I can guarantee that you won't sing louder or scream your heart out at any other ten-year show this year.
Mayday Parade will be taking the stage at The Fillmore in San Francisco, CA this Saturday, April 8. The band will be supported by Knuckle Puck and Milestones. To purchase tickets, visit thefillmore.com/event/mayday-parade-with-knuckle-puck-milestones