Mayday Parade @ Birmingham Academy, 27th May 2011

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It’s the O2 Academy 2 tonight, for pop rock band Mayday Parade with support status from We Are the in Crowd, A Rocket to the Moon and Blitz Kids. On the eve before all bands take to the stage at Slam Dunk festival, it’s a good opportunity to get into form.

First up this evening are Blitz Kids, demonstrating a heavier sound than the other bands on the bill, and if it can be said a much better dress sense, with a sense of accomplishment and confidence between them. And with lead singer Joe James claiming he’s better at singing than talking, it’s a good thing he can sing I suppose. With the lyrics soaring above the intricate playing of the other band mates, it’s a tight and confident unit who could lead to bigger things in the future.

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Next up, after the longest warm up and sound check I’ve ever witnessed came A Rocket to the Moon. With all girls obviously star struck by lead singer Nick Santino, it’s a shame that the sound they create doesn’t lead up to what the sound check was leading us to believe. With vocals being lost in the mucky nature of the rest of the band, the sheen and positivity displayed on record seems to be lost in the live arena. It’s only in slower moments that the band seems to work, but even then it can’t live up to much at all.

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Coming from New York, co-vocalist band We Are the in Crowd are beginning to gather quite a buzz around them and the music which they create, even if it’s difficult whilst being placed in the Paramore impersonator genre. Lead vocalist Taylor Jardine does well to keep the audience engaged and provide high pitched note perfect vocals on songs such as Carry Me Home and Never Be What You Want, with the audience loosening up and flowing into the music as it was hoped they’d do all night. Already seemingly familiar with a large proportion of the audience tonight, it’s obvious that if they hadn’t already a lot of people will be checking out their material in the near future.

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Mayday Parade are a band I really hated until recently when their lyrics and melody’s totally began to click with me. So it’s for that reason I’m glad tonight has come along not only at the right time, but knowing the band are in top form both vocally and playing wise can only be a good thing.

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With most material being drawn from debut album A Lesson in Romantics, the tempo is very much upbeat allowing the audience to jump and dance to their hearts content. But it’s when the tempo drops for songs such as Miserable At Best and Terrible Things, in my opinion is when the lyrical content and melodies work at their absolute best cutting straight to the heart. Lead vocalist Derek Sanders leads the choir of an audience through epic ballad type numbers, proving a moment of beauty through music often lost within this type of genre.

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Brooks Betts constantly provides something to look at, with his mega mane of hair a sight to be desired. Ending the main set with Get Up from new album Anywhere But Here, they come back on to provide an encore of Miserable At Best and Jersey, which does well at sticking in your head all evening afterwards. A great band to jump, dance and cry to whatever the mood does take you.

Review – Dan Earl
Photos – Michelle Ballard

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