The contrasting styles of the two headline acts, leads to an odd juxtaposition of fan bases attending the show. On the one-side you have the pop-punk bro’s who have followed Mayday Parade since the genre’s hycleon days a decade ago. On the other, it’s the Wonder Years’ followers of new generation hipsters. Such a mix speaks volumes of the mass appeal that the pop-punk genre still holds.
Pronoun, the brainchild of frontwoman Alyse Vellturo, gets the show underway. Hitting the stage dressed in overalls, and backed by a band wearing the same; Vellturo exudes an air of Brooklyn hipster cool. The band’s brand of synthy guitar-pop is accomplished, and their DIY attitude and aesthetic will definitely have won them some new friends among the revellers gathered tonight. It doesn’t hit home 100% of the time-hardly surprising given the demographic of the audience. The Venn-diagram of listenership would have very little crossover between 00’s emo-pop, and contemporary New York hipster-indie. However, for Vellutro’s first tour of the UK, this is a very solid base to build upon.
Movements’ brand of gloomy emo-grunge is completely at odds with their jovial stage presence. Genuinely happy to be back on the UK, with fans singing along; they seem to really enjoy being the senior support act on this tour. Their mixture of emo and spoken word really shouldn’t work as well as it does. However, live, it goes down as well, if not better than on the record. There’s no-one quite like them in the scene at the moment. Going forward, this will stand them in very good stead indeed.
The first of the headline acts, the Wonder Years, take to a stage awash in blue light. Launching straight into ‘Sister Cities’ from the album of the same name, it’s a hark-back to the band’s pop-punk roots.
Formerly a band averse to audience interaction, frontman Dan ‘Soupy’ Cambell seems to have grown in confidence, following the release and touring cycle of ‘Sister Cities’. Throughout the set, he regularly encourages the crowd to shout along, bounce when he bounces, and throw themselves over the barrier. Using his self-described ‘pro-wrestling voice’, he epitomises the suburban every-man, turned pop-punk icon perfectly. This is no small part of the Wonder Years’ charm-they are their fans, and living proof that anyone with a passion for the genre can make it.
Their set features a healthy smattering of old and new-with ‘Dismantling Summer’ from 2015’s ‘The Greatest Generation going down particularly well with the crowd. The only let-up throughout a thoroughly impassioned set; is when the band slows proceedings down to play ‘Flowers Where Your Face Should Be’. A melancholic, almost American Football-esque track from ‘Sister Cities’ gives those in the pit a breather, while the rest of the crowd hold lighters and mobile phones aloft, as they sing along to the tender ballad.
Sonically, ‘Sister Cities’ saw the Wonder Year’s pushing against the boundaries of the pop-punk genre. Live they are more than up for this challenge, as the subtleties of the album are not lost in the ambient fuzz of the live arena.
The only criticism is, that début album ‘The Upsides’ is overlooked, and no tracks from this album make an appearance. However, as the Wonder Years look to the future, it’s unsurprising that these tracks are used in the live set sparingly.
Mayday Parade released their début album back in 2005; back when the emo-pop scene had reached its saturation point. An accusation tabled to many bands at this time was that they favoured style over substance; putting more effort into cultivating an image with skin-tight jeans and tee-shirts and swoopy fringes, then producing music of significance.
This was unfair of a lot of bands, as many were making quality music. Mayday Parade can be counted among this number, as they have maintained the style and sound, even as contemporary music trends have moved on.
Hitting the stage with fringes still intact, it’s like a throwback to a decade ago, in the best possible way. Getting the crowd bouncing along with ‘Never Sure’ and ‘Jersey’-tracks from both ends of their recording timeline-the band shows they are as timeless as they are accomplished live entertainers.
This is the theme of the show, as although record ‘Sunny Land’ is still fresh in the ears of fans; there is no over-reliance on tracks from this album. The band instead chooses to play tracks from all albums across their back catalogue. The fact that they are welcomed with equal enthusiasm by fans show that the majority in attendance are not recent converts to the Mayday Parade cause.
To his credit, frontman Derek Sanders makes no apologies for being a perpetual ‘emo’ kid. The perfect mix of WWE superstar Seth Rollins, and emo legend Adam Lazarra, he is a jovial presence onstage; encouraging the crowd to jump and crowd-surf at every turn. Confessing his Love for local drinking establishments Big Hands and Satan’s Hollow-he knows the city and the audience like the back of his hands.
One thing you don’t often expect from a pop-punk show is surprises. However, midway through the set, Sanders grabs an acoustic guitar and plays a mid-00’s emo medley of New Found Glory’s ‘My Friends over You, My Chemical Romance’s ‘I’m Not Okay (I Promise) and Taking Back Sunday’s ‘Cute without the E (Cut from the Team). This is rounded out with their own track ‘Jamie All Over’ and is a nice way of breathing new life into old songs. There is also a cover of Gotye’s ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ thrown in; which is a left-field, but not unwelcome addition to the set.
From here, the band jump back into their own hits; taking time to dedicate ‘Sunny Land’ to the frontmen and women of the rest of the acts on the tour.
Closing the set with ‘I’d Hate to Be You When People Find out What This Song Is About’-a track and title which encapsulates the 2006 scene perfectly-the band send the revellers home happy, and full of nostalgia.
While there is a somewhat grubby minority of pop-punk ‘bros’, and fans of crabcore, among the crowd; most of those here are emo kids who have grown-up, but have fond memories of these genre’s heyday. Bands like As It Is have made a success of reviving the 2006 sound, and making it contemporary. However, bands like Mayday Parade show that the love for this type of music never went away, and it is still loved as much as it ever was. Their decision to bring up-and-comers, and contemporary pop-punk bands on the tour with them ensures that the genre will still be around for a long time yet.