Review and photos by Jared Stossel.
Mayday Parade is one of those bands that I sometimes feel people take for granted. They tour so much and have been consistently putting out new music. Recently, they have been on the road in support of their fifth studio album, Black Lines, but decided to change things up a bit.
Back in 2007, the Tallahassee, FL quintet released their debut album, A Lesson In Romantics. For as many years as I've been involved in the "alternative" rock music scene, I've never quite seen an album take on a life of its own like A Lesson In Romantics. You can view the preview feature that we ran before this show for a more in-depth look at this record, but it's clear that this is an album that resonates with fans to this very day for numerous reasons. What better way to commemorate that album than with a ten-year tour?
Taking the stage to a sold-out crowd at the legendary Fillmore crowd in San Francisco, Mayday Parade enchanted fans with a complete play-through of their debut album. This means that they began their set with the electrifying, gang-vocal inspiring "Jamie All Over", a track that I still believe to be their best opening song. Everything about that song embodies the spirit of pop-rock, from the lyrics, to the musicianship, all the way to the song structure.
While every song proved to be an occasion for a sing-along (a rare aspect for any album, even on a ten-year anniversary tour), none was more emotionally charged than "Miserable At Best", the piano-driven ballad that says everything that a heartbroken spirit cannot find the words to bring forth from their lips. I can assure you that the evening was a walk down memory lane for those in attendance, as it's an album that's rooted in sentimentality for those who first listened to it during its crucial 2007-2008 promotional period, with vocalists Derek Sanders and Jason Lancaster (who left the band shortly after the album's release in 2007) singing of heartbreak and all of the feelings that accompany those pivotal moments surrounding love.
The show featured support from a newer addition to the Fearless Records roster, alternative-rock UK-based act Milestones, and pop-punk outfit Knuckle Puck. The first of the two acts showcased a unique twist on the pop-punk genre, throwing in more elements of alternative rock that enveloped emotional vocal lines, creating a style of alternative/pop-rock that's entirely their own. Knuckle Puck brought the energy up as crowd surfers barrel-rolled over the barricade and into the hands of security guards, all while powering through fast-paced, guitar-driven tracks akin to their peers in The Story So Far and Real Friends.
Once the final track on Lesson concluded, "You Be The Anchor That Keeps My Feet On The Ground, I'll Be The Wings That Keep Your Heart In The Cloud" (God I miss when bands would make longer song titles like this), vocalist Sanders returned to the stage to perform an acoustic Bob Marley cover, "Redemption Song", and "Terrible Things", a track from the band's Valdosta EP. The rest of the band (comprised of rhythm guitarist Brooks Betts, lead guitarist Alex Garcia, bassist Jeremy Lenzo, and drummer Jake Bundrick) returned to the stage and launched straight into a series of career-spanning tracks, including "Three Cheers For Five Years (Tales Told By Dead Friends EP), "When You See My Friends" (Mayday Parade), "Keep In Mind, Transmogrification Is A New Technology" (Black Lines) and "Kids In Love" (Anywhere But Here). Every song received a bigger reaction than the previous one, concluding with the lead track from their 2011 self-titled album, "Oh Well, Oh Well". Amidst the roar of the crowd, through the haze of sweat that was drifting up from into the chandelier-covered rafters at The Fillmore, Mayday Parade took their bows and walked off stage, heading straight into their next adventure.