Mayday Parade, Auckand NZ, 2017

Mayday Parade
10th October 2017
The Kings Arms, Auckland, New Zealand.

Review by Sarah Kidd. Photography by Matt Henry Mendonca.

Mayday Parade performing live in Auckland, New Zealand 2017. Image by Matt Henry Photography.

It may have seemed like a lifetime of a wait for many young New Zealand fans but it was all worth it in the end as Mayday Parade took to the stage for a sold out show. Hailing from Tallahassee, Florida the five piece certainly are a long way from home, but looked none the worse for wear as they stepped out onto well-worn carpet of the Kings Arms stage.

Tonight is a rather special show as Mayday Parade celebrate the tenth Anniversary of their debut album A Lesson in Romantics. Promising to play the album in full, fans have packed out the venue wall to wall and are ready and waiting; eager to finally see their heroes on an up close and personal basis.

Looking fairly unassuming in a pale blue Stars Wars tshirt and dark red jeans; vocalist Derek Sanders, his long brown hair framing his rather open and friendly face turns to the audience and smiles as the opening notes of ‘Jaime All Over’ – track one off the album – rings out over the PA system. Immediately the fans are moving as one, bouncing on the spot as they belt out the lyrics; in stark contrast the front row, barely move, instead choosing to gaze up at the band before them, an occasional phone being held up to take a quick video or photo; no doubt to prove to themselves later that what they were witnessing truly did happen.

Racing through the first few tracks of the album and the vivacity of the fans shows no signs of waning, each song lovingly sung to with as much passion as the last. Mayday Parade surely has to hold the record for some of the longest song titles in the book, however Sanders can only get through the first couple of words before the fans are screaming, straight away knowing exactly what they are about to hear. “Are you feeling good so far?” Sanders calls out to the room, hundreds of voices answering him simultaneously. Going on to speak of how ten years down the track both he and the band would never have believed that the album would have led them to New Zealand, fans notice that the stage is starting to empty as the band members slowly file off, leaving just Sanders and drummer Jake Bundrick alone on stage. A keyboard is set up in front of Sanders and as he sits before it, gently bringing his hands to the keys, an ineffable change came across the room. ‘Miserable at Best’ with its emotive lyrics of yearning hearts has the entire crowd transfixed; gently swaying on the spot they sing in unison; their voices and Sanders (with some nice harmonizing by Bundrick from behind the kit) melding into one and growing in strength as it filled every corner of the room.

“C’mon Auckland – Sing it!” Bundrick calls out to the fans as his hand gently taps out the keyboard notes in the air before him, lost in the intricacies of the words. From deep within themselves the fans draw even more strength; Sanders momentarily ceasing his keyboard playing, instead allowing the audience to fill the void with their voices, obviously impressed as well as touched he smiles and finishes the song with a long bow of his head.

Ensuring that the venue got back to jumping again as quickly as possible, lead guitarist Alex Garcia, his angled fringe almost as emotional as the music itself, leans down and works the dials on his pedal board, sending a wave of distortion and noise out into the humid air. ‘Walk on Water or Drown’ quickly got the crowd moving again, many still impressing the hell out of the band as they continue to sing each and every track word for word, ‘Ocean and Atlantic’ having exactly the same effect. “Everybody good? Everybody still good?” Sanders calls out to the audience before going on to thank both the support band and the venue; taking the time to mention how the current location will soon be closing down “which is a bummer! So let’s give it up for the Kings Arms!”

All too soon and the album is coming to an end but not before tracks such as ‘I’d Hate to be you when people find out what this song is about’ gives Garcia the opportunity to let out some blistering solo’s; Lenzo on bass with Betts on rhythm guitar supporting Garcia by building a base of chords upon which he builds lush layers of outstanding finger work. ‘You be the Anchor that keeps my feet on the ground, I’ll be the wings that keep your heart in the clouds’ signaled the end of the album; however as smoke gently curled around Sanders feet, his voice ringing out through the darkness, resonating with every broken and slightly chipped heart in the audience it felt far more like a new beginning than the end.

Sanders rather candid enquiry as to whether it would be “cool” for the band to stay and play a few more songs was met with emphatic yes’s; the crowd thrilled when he stepped off to the side to pick up an acoustic guitar. His cover of Something Corporates track ‘Punk Rock Princess’ going down well with the audience even though it was evident more than a few of the fans were unfamiliar with the song; regardless it was once again a great showcase of Sanders vocal abilities that failed to falter at any point throughout the night. After performing a small selection of songs from across their last four albums; with the bonus of ‘Three Cheers for Five Years’ the first song they ever wrote together as a band being thrown in for good measure and all of a sudden the end of the night was near.

Allowing the audience to indulge themselves with a good old, foot stomping demand for an encore and Mayday Parade took it out in style; Garcia, the last to leave the stage turning the reverb up and letting it hang in the air…

Now that’s how you celebrate a ten year anniversary!

Were you there at The Kings Arms for this brilliant scene flashback? Or have you seen Mayday Parade perform live somewhere else before? Tell us about it in the comments below!

  1. Jaime All Over
  2. Black Cat
  3. When I Get Home, You’re So Dead
  4. Jersey
  5. If You Wanted A Song Written About You, All You Had To Do Was Ask
  6. Miserable At Best
  7. Walk On Water Or Drown
  8. Ocean And Atlantic
  9. I’d Hate To Be You When People Find Out What This Song Is About
  10. Take This To Heart
  11. Champagnes For Celebrating (I’ll Have A Martini)
  12. You Be The Anchor That Keeps My Feet On The Ground, I’ll Be The Wings That Keep Your Heart In The Clouds
  13. Punk Rock Princess [Something Corporate – cover]
  14. Terrible Things
  15. Three Cheers For Five Years
  16. Keep In Mind, Transmogrification Is A New Technology
  17. Kids In Love
  18. Stay [encore]
  19. Oh Well, Oh Well [encore]

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