Live: Mayday Parade in Tempe

A year and a half removed from the release of their fifth album, Mayday Parade has embarked on a noble quest—bringing nostalgia of pop punk days gone by to the whole country. Fan-favorite album A Lesson in Romantics celebrates its 10th birthday this year, and the band brought the party to The Marquee in Tempe, AZ. England-based Milestones were up first, bringing a more modern pop punk sound than the upcoming throwbacks. Despite getting a slow start in terms of audience participation, they had the crowd warmed up to them after just a few songs. Milestones certainly got the energy up to the next act, Knuckle Puck—not that they needed any help. Crowd surfers almost overwhelmed the pit, and the general response to “jump” was “how high?” It seemed as though everyone got the urge to rage mostly out of their systems so they could appreciate the sentimentality behind A Lesson in Romantics. Knuckle Puck brought infectious energy with an incredibly active stage presence from all members. There was little dialogue between songs, other than to wish guitarist Kevin Maida a happy birthday, but their musicianship spoke for them. Mayday Parade isn’t joking around when they label it an “anniversary tour”—their set list was identical to the track listing on A Lesson in Romantics with their other hits tacked on the end. The cohesiveness of the album was then translated to the live show. The message was consistent and the set list told a story of sorts. The stage consisted of an impressive amount of production—every detail was thoroughly thought out and executed well, from the umbrella lights and streetlamps to the cityscape background, all matching the album art. The lights also reflected the cover or the song, although they were on the distracting side at times. There were obvious favorites from the crowd, which the band certainly knew going into the show. While it did seem like the less popular songs were played out of obligation rather than enthusiasm, the band’s energy level never failed. An interesting dynamic emerged in that there didn’t really seem to be a frontman. Derek Sanders obviously led vocals, but Betts, Garcia, and Lenzo all spent equal time on the risers at the front of the stage. The level of activity created an attention-grabbing display that gave everyone something to look at at all times. The Lesson in Romantics 10th Anniversary Tour was highly anticipated by new fans and nostalgia-seekers alike. Although the show didn’t sell out, it certainly sold well, and the boys were on their A-game. Their Tempe show is an early date on the tour, so definitely go check it out in a city near you. -Kelly Fox \"Click