Walking up to the Birmingham O2 Academy, even a couple of hours before the doors open, teenagers in American Apparel hoodies, hoods up, form a queue stretching out along the path. The average age being 16, it is apparent that some pop-punk heroes are present in Birmingham tonight.
The bands in question are Floridian five-piece Mayday Parade co-headlining with The Maine flying out from Phoenix, Arizona. The Maine start the night off with an acoustic track that sounded more fitting coming from a British indie band than the energetic pop- punkers we know and love, but soon hype the eager crowd with more fitting records. When John O'Callaghan puts down the acoustic guitar and breaks in to the first lyrics of Growing Up, however, the audience past the first 3 rows begin to pay more attention and get moving. The clear starting point of the night was the ever-popular tune of Girls Do What They Want making the whole front crowd pogo jump like it were 1999. The Maine even made one teen uber-fan’s dream come true by letting her take the stage and microphone, sing out the last chorus of the anthem, and have her 60 seconds of pure rock fame. The band managed to get the crowd singing their hearts out to I Must Be Dreaming with even the over 18’s watching from afar at the back bar singing the lyrics at the top of their lungs.
Closing with a bang, the crowd were upset to see the lively set come to an end but an air of excitement was felt in the small venue with the anticipation of America’s South East finest, Mayday Parade to address the stage. With a wait just long enough to get the crowd excited, they ran on opening with Walk on Water or Drown immediately making the whole room get up and dance with their energetic pop riffs and on stage presence with the fact that the whole band were putting in their all, shining through as they bounded across the stage. Bruised and Scarred was the song that showed the most pleasing reaction from the band themselves, with Derek Sanders letting a huge smile over take his face just before the song came to a close and he lent towards the crowd of screaming fans.
Despite the room jumping up and down uncontrollably the long haired lead singer managed to calm down the kids with the simple action of whipping out a keyboard. With the anticipation of one of their famous ballads being played next, the crowd paid all their attention to the spot lit singer. An immediate scream erupted when the recognisable notes of Miserable at Best kicked in and, as it played on, it was impossible to not hear every fan in the room sing the song word for word, and even more impossible for the infectious sound to not make you want to join in. Straight after, the emotional anthem of Three Cheers for Five Years kicked in and the room burst in to song with hands on hearts, a complete communal feeling filling the floor of the pure love for Mayday Parade that the fans have. All in all, a night to be described as an awesome performance from both bands respectively.
Mayday Parade expressed their desire to not make it another 2 years before another headline show, and from the reaction of the crowd this evening, the feeling is mutual in the UK.
by Cat Perry