It was a beautiful Saturday evening in Melbourne. The sun was still shining as everyone headed into Arrow on Swanston. It’s a sell-out night and that’s no surprise as Mayday Parade were set to celebrate 10 years of their debut album A Lesson in Romantics. After a sell-out show at 170 Russell, this was a special one for all ages, fans new and old, not just those over 18. It was also a much earlier night with doors opening at 6:00 pm and support warming up the crowd from 6:30 pm.
This Wild Life from Longbeach, California came on to the comedic styles of ‘Under the Sea‘ from The Little Mermaid which brought some chuckles from the crowd and then some screams as the band hit the stage. The stylings from the duo of Kevin Jordan on lead vocals with guitar and Anthony Del Grosso on lead guitar were softer than what was offered for the night to come but still suited the night perfectly. When they decided to break out a cover of Blink 182‘s ‘First Date,‘ the whole crowd joined in to sing along to a punk classic done acoustically. As they played songs like ‘Break Down,‘ ‘Break Me‘ and ‘No More Bad Days,‘ the fans of the band in the room were enjoying it. As great as they sounded however, the whole set sounded constantly similar and didn’t deviate much. It was a great set finishing with ‘Falling Down’ that the crowd loved in the end, and was easily a good warm up for what was to be an amazing act ahead.
Celebrating a decade of their debut A Lesson in Romantics, Mayday Parade formed in 2005 in Tallahassee, Florida and quickly made themselves a name in the punk-pop scene. A lot has happened over the time they’ve been together and tonight was a culmination of all the band has done and achieved in the last decade. For some of us here, myself included, this album was one of the many in the playlist of our teenage lives when it was released and for others in the crowd, it was a gateway discovery made a few years later that brought them into being fans.
There were definitely some first time concert goers in the crowd which was refreshing to see and hear, with even a tiny fan no older than eight years old attending with her mum sitting in the back with the noise dampening earplugs. Parenting done right.
The moment the lights went down, the crowd went crazy chanting, “MAYDAY,” as the band ran on stage. It was the screams that came when lead vocalist Derek Sanders went front and centre that brought the set to a start with the first track ‘Jamie All Over’ from A Lesson in Romantics. The crowd hit party mode and were singing their hearts out and this continued into the much loved ‘Black Cat’ that had the crowd jumping around and arms flailing everywhere. It may not have been the best venue yet no one seemed to care when everything was in full swing.
With bassist Jeremy Lenzo kicking off ‘When I Get Home, You’re So Dead,’ the floor was moving from how much everyone was having fun. It was the hit single ‘Jersey’ that made it harder to hear the band with the fans throwing all they had in their hearts and souls to show their love for the 10 year old classic. However, things slowed down to a sway and sing with ‘If You Wanted a Song Written About You, All You Had to Do Was Ask’ which helped conserve some energy for later in the set for those who gave everything for ‘Jersey.’
With Sanders and drummer Jake Bundrick staying on stage and the rest of the band exiting, a keyboard was brought on for the track ‘Miserable at Best.’ Having Bundrick on backing vocals and the crowd singing along with Sanders was a powerful, emotional experience and was honestly beautiful to just sit back, watch and listen. No theatrics on stage, no change to lighting, just pure, powerful vocals with a beautiful backing. The song may have sounded amazing 10 years ago on the album, yet there’s just something different about hearing it live that brings more out than a recording could ever give.
After absolutely demolishing the remaining tracks from A Lesson in Romantics including ‘Ocean and Atlantic,’ ‘I’d Hate to be You When People Find Out What This Song is About,’ ‘Take This to Heart’ and ‘You be the Anchor That Keeps My Feet on the Ground, I’ll be the Wings That Keep Your Heart in the Clouds,’ (we will never truly understand why Mayday Parade insist on some of the longest names for songs), it was time to kick this experience up a notch.
Even though it was an acoustic cover, Sanders took front and centre to solo Something Corporate’s ‘Punk Rock Princess.‘ A rendition that Something Corporate would appreciate and just a nice way to bridge between the album and their newer tracks. It was when ‘Terrible Things’ started that the emotions hit hard and fast. Sticking onstage with his solo, Sanders got everyone to bring out their phones and shine them bright and high and sing with him. The band joined in just as the song was hitting climax in an emotional ballad that had the odd person shedding a tear and even the classic lighter instead of the more modern phone light waving in the air.
Once the mood was lifted by the band and crowd, they went back further than the night’s celebrated album to a song from their first EP, ‘Three Cheers For Five Years‘ which sounds as amazing today as it did 12 years ago. The upbeat tunes continued into ‘Keep in Mind, Transmogrification is a New Technology,‘ (again with the long name but it’s original), as the penultimate song for the main set before encore.
Closing the main set with ‘Kids in Love,‘ the quality of this night had already made it incredible and even with the encore yet to happen. They could have easily finished there and then but a band will never disappoint their fans who will always yearn for more and did they deliver!
Sanders walked on stage and announced a two-song encore which made the fans scream with joy. Starting off the encore with ‘Stay’ had Sanders and Bundrick opening it together with the rest of the band jumping up a little bit into the song. The crowd were loving it and as soon as the finale ‘Oh Well, Oh Well‘ kicked in, arms were in the air swaying side to side and the last bit of energy was put in as soon as the pace picked up and the floor was moving and going insane.
The night may have finished earlier than the usual night for a gig in Melbourne but putting in almost three hours of high paced, sold out entertainment for everyone to enjoy, it didn’t matter because it was completely worth it.
Here’s hoping that Mayday Parade tour again soon and not wait until the 20th anniversary to come back.