Music Reviews

Live Review: Mayday Parade, Rock City (04/02/2016)

Mayday Parade are a band originating from Virginia, and are currently touring Europe and the US with their new album ‘Black Lines’, which was released in November of last year. Like other fans I couldn’t wait to see this new album live. The new album contains songs with a much grittier style to their previous ones, and they were honestly made to be performed live. After playing for 10 years, Mayday Parade have grown a dedicated fan-base, and this was evidenced by the chatter of fans clad in band T-shirts, queuing to get into Rock City. By the time Mayday Parade came on stage the room was packed, and there was a huge buzz of excited anticipation in the air.

The band completely smashed it with the first song from the new album ‘One of them will destroy the other’, a raw rock song built on crashing drums and ruthless guitar riffs that cut through the sizzling anticipation with a shocking charge of energy. A high level of energy that stayed with the audience throughout the gig.

The entire first half of the band’s set was a selection of their edgier ‘Black Lines’ tracks. The refreshing diversity of the new songs gave lead singer Derek Sanders a chance to show off his impressive vocal range on a level that hadn’t been heard with the band’s previous punk-rock ballads which they’ve become known for.

“Mayday Parade is well aware of their fan base, and were sure to play a few of their classic, well-loved tracks”

Nevertheless, Mayday Parade is well aware of their fan base, and were sure to play a few of their classic, well-loved tracks from previous albums during the second half of the gig. Here the electric guitars were momentarily replaced by acoustic chords and bittersweet lyrics sung with emotion that was especially palpable in a live setting; the most memorable being ‘Terrible Things’. These softer acoustics were a chance for the band to let the audience sing along, phones lit up above the heads of the crowd. This was definitely a memorable moment of the gig, singing along with other fans and with everyone’s phones lit up above the heads of the crowd; anyone who’s been to a live gig knows how special that moment feels. 

Of course the audience couldn’t be left in a hum of mellowed content; the band once again fired up the electric guitars, drums and base to finish. This time it was one of the – in my opinion – best songs from the new album, ‘Letting Go’. Throughout the entire gig it was obvious that the band were enjoying themselves just as much as the audience, making it even more fulfilling to watch them live!

In hindsight it would have been amazing if a few more songs from Black Lines had been played, as a few of the best ones were definitely missed out. Then again it would have been disappointing if none of the well-known songs were played as a bit of nostalgia is always appreciated!

It’s great to see Mayday Parade still going strong after 10 years. Not only are they still full of contagious enthusiasm, but their new album proves that they are willing to take risks by experimenting with new styles; this will undoubtedly build up even more excitement around future releases. If they continue to play a mix of their punk-rock ballads, soft acoustics and gritty rock, then I am betting that Mayday Parade will only grow in success and popularity.

Bryony Hunt

Image:Kayla Underwood via Flickr

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Co-Editor of the Music Section at University of Nottingham's IMPACT Magazine.

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