Since their inception just over a decade ago upon the joining together of two local Tallahassee bands; native Floridians Mayday Parade have gained a reputation for no-holds-barred albums of songs with heart-on-sleeve lyrics usually focused on love, heartbreak and betrayal – a somewhat brief taste of which was showcased Thursday night at Rock City.
Before the five-piece (made up of vocalist Derek Sanders, guitarists Brooks Betts and Alex Garcia, bassist Jeremy Lenzo and drummer Jake Bundrick) took the stage, supporting bands Beautiful Bodies, Have Mercy and The Maine each attempted to get the crowd warmed up and moving in their own ways. Whilst all three failed to live up the eventual reaction received by the headliners, they were definitely successful in showcasing different genres and styles of music not necessarily expressed by the main act.
Diving in head first with the heaviest song they’ve ever released – ‘One of Them Will Destroy the Other’ from their newest fifth effort Black Lines – the band have never brought more raw energy to the table, and with lyrics you can only shout along to, they instantly achieved the crowd response their support acts couldn’t quite grasp.
With a set-list of 12 songs, the group delivered older fan favourites like ‘Jamie All Over’, ‘Three Cheers for Five Years’ and ‘Black Cat’ with ease, as well as new offerings ‘Hollow’, ‘Letting Go’ and ‘Keep in Mind, Transmogrification Is a New Technology’, which truly showcased the bands wide discography and simultaneously invoked the high energy crowd response that Mayday Parade shows are known for. It’s worth noting, however, that whilst trying to squeeze in five albums’ worth of material into such a short amount of time must be exceedingly difficult, the glaring lack of arguably the bands biggest and most celebrated song ‘When I Get Home, You’re So Dead’ (the main single from their critically acclaimed debut album A Lesson In Romantics) was undoubtedly a misstep.
The main thing that Mayday Parade can boast about is that they definitely know how to write a heart-wrenching ballad, and that was showcased in the heart-breaking ‘Terrible Things’ – taken from 2011 acoustic EP Valdosta, which has only recently made its way back on to the band’s live set-lists –and in one of the most distinctly Mayday songs ever: ‘Miserable At Best’. Finishing off the night with this ballad was most definitely a calculated move on their part as it led to the biggest singalong of the night that you couldn’t quite resist, and as lead singer Derek Sanders exited the stage, the volume of the crowd was deafening.
That’s the beauty of a Mayday Parade show – if you want to relive some teenage nostalgia, still think they’re the best band ever, or just want to have a good singalong, they’re definitely a band to catch live, and they proved it yet again this week.