Mayday Parade’s unforgettable debut record, A Lesson In Romantics turns 10 years old in July 2017. This is an anniversary tour many wanted, and thankfully, received. With the fresh UK pop punk outfit, Milestones, opening on their first ever US tour, and seasoned pop punk favorites, Knuckle Puck, as direct support, this tour had everyone’s attention. Considering A Lesson In Romantics is one of my all-time favorite albums, I wasn’t going to miss the Portland show of the tour.
Milestones opened the show, and unfortunately, the mix was poor and the guitars were almost completely inaudible. Though I have a feeling I would have enjoyed them should I have been able to have heard all of their instruments. I’ve seen Knuckle Puck 6 or 7, maybe even 8 times now. Every time is just as relentless as the ones before. I was the first crowdsurfer of the night and was told politely not to crowdsurf again. I obliged.. at least for the rest of Knuckle Puck’s set. 😉
After Knuckle Puck, the whole venue was buzzing with excitement. The house lights went down and the room roared. Everyone knew what was about to come: “Jamie All Over.” As soon as the riff hit, I jumped up and was crowdsurfing yelling back to vocalist Derek Sanders about that dream in Vegas. Unfortunately, this act of passion and catharsis got me kicked out of the show. Two things worked out in my favor: the security guard was very chill, and I am very charming—I was allowed back into the venue after a bit of luck and persuasion.
Though I missed the majority of “Jamie All Over,” I entered as “Black Cat” was playing and my spirits were lifted and didn’t let up—I was happy to be back inside! Through all of my excitement, there was one small thing that nagged at me: Jason Lancaster was missing. After A Lesson In Romantics, Jason left Mayday Parade and went on to front Go Radio, leaving behind an incredible record with his vocals all over it, which is one of the features that makes the album so strong. Jason and Derek’s vocals paired together is a combination that makes angels jealous; it’s honestly one of my favorite things in music. In the back of my mind, I was wondering how some of the songs would sound live without Jason performing. Bassist Jeremy Lenzo, drummer Jake Bundrick, and frontman Derek Sanders, all covered their share of lines, sometimes a combination of the three. With the crowd singing along with every word as well, it wasn’t hard to ignore the lack of Jason’s voice.
I’ll be honest, I sort of blacked out during the set. Seeing one of my favorite albums being performed live from front to back, screaming along to every word of every song, was a euphoric experience that’s hard to explain in words. I embraced all the sweaty bodies pushed up against me in the front yelling by my side—though we’ve never met, we shared the same feelings at the same time, and there’s few things more magical than that kind of instant connection. The energy slowed down when stagehands brought a piano onstage for Derek to perform “Miserable At Best” solo (with a sea of voices), but immediately was elevated when the band rejoined Derek for “Walk On Water Or Drown.” The liveliness didn’t come down for the rest of the album’s songs.
After the 12 songs on the record had been played, the band left the stage and Derek picked up an acoustic guitar. He thanked everyone for their love and support and covered Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song.” For the first time, the crowd watched in silence as Derek’s voice shined on its own. After the cover, the band remained off stage, Derek held on to the acoustic guitar, and he began to play one of Mayday Parade’s saddest songs: “Terrible Things.” The crowd softly sang along and many likely cried. It was a powerful few minutes, and the band joined for the triumphantly emotional bridge, by which time the crowd began to come alive again. Mayday Parade followed that up with a song many in the crowd had been requesting and the oldest song on their setlist—”Three Cheers For Five Years”—another emotional banger of a tune. “When You See My Friends” off of their self-titled came next, followed by the only song off their latest record to make the set, “Keep In Mind, Transmogrification Is A New Technology.” Admittedly, I didn’t know this song, but neither did a lot of the crowd as this was primarily a nostalgic tour and set. This slight drop in energy was picked right back up with “Kids In Love,” the opening track to the band’s sophomore full-length. The band ended the night with “Oh Well, Oh Well,” slowing down the intro and outro making it more memorable than ever.
Mayday Parade is a band known for their emotional connection through their often-sad lyricism. The night was certainly emotional, but it was anything but sad. The room was bursting with pure joy stemming from the nostalgia and memories we have with A Lesson In Romantics as an album, and Mayday Parade as a band. Through the sad songs and the sing alongs, this is a tour I’m sure many won’t forget, much like we won’t ever forget the 10-year-old album. Three Cheers For Another Ten Years.
Find Mayday Parade’s tour dates at maydayparade.com/tour!