Arts, Off Campus

Mayday Parade Entertains Punk Crowd at Paradise Rock Club

As the lights faded in Paradise Rock Club for the third time on Friday evening, the sound of a slow and eerie piano solo graced the ears of fans of Mayday Parade. When lead vocalist Derek Sanders’ voice rang out with the opening lines to “Oh Well, Oh Well,” the lead single on the album Mayday Parade, the noise in the crowd was deafening.

For a band that is well-loved in the pop punk community, it was no surprise that every track featured the same electric and enthusiastic response from the sold-out crowd. Over a decade of performing live shows in Sanders’ on-stage energy and easy confidence that encouraged unprompted movement and excitement from the crowd. 

Originally released in 2011, Mayday Parade’s third full-length studio album celebrated its 10th anniversary in October 2021. Friday night’s show marked the second-to-last stop of the anniversary tour. The other members of Mayday Parade—guitarists Alex Garcia and Brooks Betts, bassist Jeremy Lenzo, and drummer Jake Bundrick—quickly joined Sanders onstage.

While he was performing the album’s third track, “When You See My Friends,” Sanders took a pause to speak directly to the crowd.

“If you feel like you have lost something or someone in the last two years, I want you to turn your light on and hold it up nice and high,” Sanders said. “You’re not alone.”

The moment was raw, matching the slower, acoustic part of the song beautifully as the venue lit up with the phone lights of nearly every attendee beaming at the stage. 

Candles littered every surface on the stage in such abundance that the grand set of The Phantom of the Opera would pale in comparison. The warm glow of the candles, in combination with the stained-glass windows that framed the back of the stage, provided visual interest in front of the plain red curtain behind them. Though the backdrop of the stained-glass windows didn’t seem to serve any purpose for the majority of the band’s set, they occasionally lit up in an array of bright colors that complemented the rest of the lighting design. 

Near the end of the concert, the band performed “Without the Bitter the Sweet Isn’t as Sweet,” which Sanders said is one of his favorite songs that the group has created. The song’s slower pace served as a hard juxtaposition to the rest of Mayday Parade, since there is no characteristic gradual building of the tempo to accompany the full instrumentals that appear later in the songs. Bass hits accompanied the flashes of the spotlights that bathed the stage in blue before transitioning to more dynamic lighting that reflected the more sanguine lyrics of the second half of the song. 

A brief piano interlude followed the conclusion of “Happy Endings Are Stories That Haven’t Ended Yet,” to indicate that the concert was not over—an encore was yet to come. 

The second part of the set began with some of Mayday Parade’s newer material, including “Kids of Summer” followed by “Golden Days” from the band’s 2021 album What It Means To Fall Apart. The audience’s loud scream-singing quieted during the songs off the most recent album, as many fans were likely at the concert to celebrate the anniversary of Mayday Parade.

Few intros in pop punk music are as widely recognized as the first note to My Chemical Romance’s “Welcome to the Black Parade,” but given the overwhelming cheers of excitement that resulted from the opening chord to “Miserable At Best,” there may be a new contender for the genre’s most recognizable notes. 

During the homage to the band’s album A Lesson in Romantics that continued through the end of the set, Bundrick’s vocals joined Sanders’ to echo the heartbreaking harmonies that make up “Miserable At Best.” Standing up on his drum kit seat, Bundrick riled up the crowd, calling for people to “sing it out,” creating a louder atmosphere as people indulged in the moment of catharsis. 

As the 1.5-hour set neared a close, there were two popular songs from Mayday Parade’s vast discography that had yet to be played: “Jersey” and “Jamie All Over.” When the notes to the second-to-last song began to play, it was no surprise that “Jersey”—one of Mayday Parade’s most well known songs—was making an appearance. 

The feeling in the crowd was electric, as the cheers that had been loud and excited during the rest of the set became deafening as realization sunk in that “Jamie All Over” would close out the show. The excitement in the room became exponentially heightened as fans that were jumping around and dancing began lifting up those around them to crowdsurf toward and around the stage. 

Featured Images by Vikrum Singh / Heights Editor

April 7, 2022