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Live Review: Mayday Parade – Oxford O2 Academy – 02/10/12

HTF headed along to the first date of the Mayday Parade UK tour in Oxford. Find out what we though of it here!

Band: Mayday Parade
Support: Natives, For The Foxes, The Summer Set
Venue: Oxford, O2 Academy
Date: 02/10/12

As we overhear from a tour manager of one of the support bands explain earlier on in the evening: Mayday Parade have a huge following over here” and he isn’t lying! Tonight is the first date of their highly anticipated UK tour and, like many of the proceeding dates, tonight is all sold out!

Unfortunately, due to a scheduled interview with another support band, HTF missed the majority of Natives set. Joining the set at around the halfway point though, the Native boys sounded on top form. Set closer and recent single ‘This Island’ was the epitome of what these guys are about, pop-rock at its very finest and catchy enough to make the youthful crowd go nuts to the point that from the back of the venue, it was difficult to even see the band through the crowd of jumping teens.

Next up of the evening, making their UK debut was New Jersey’s and Hopeless Records newbies For The Foxes. Despite the fact that probably around 99% of the audience had never even heard of this band before let alone anything they had released, For The Foxes made damn sure that a good percentage of the people within the room would walk away from tonight needing to find out more. Opening their set with the incredible ‘Moonlight Ride’ and ending with the even better ‘The Revolution’ (the band’s first single and title track), vocalist Nicholas Francis and friends tore through a set list which included all the tracks from their soon-to-be-released debut EP ‘The Revolution’. The only notable downside to tonight’s almost flawless performance was the lack of keyboards due to a plug issue (those Americans and their crazy electricity outlets!). However disappointing this may have been to the band themselves, it didn’t affect the performance from the audience’s perspective who still bopped along to songs they didn’t know but could tell they wish they did and were more than happy to be held in the palm of the band’s hand. If each venue on this tour is full of an audience such as this, there is no doubt that by the end For The Foxes will be heading back to the ol’ US with a truckload of new fans safely secured.

The last support slot of the evening went to Arizonian pop-rockers The Summer Set. As with all the other bands of tonight, there isn’t anything bad to say against this outfit, with slightly more of the audience being aware of The Summer Set before tonight, vocalist Brian Dales commanded a decent sounding sing-a-long, particularly to uber-catchy track ‘Punch Drunk Love’ and did well to continue whipping the already excitable crowd into even more of a frenzy, ready for the headlining act.

After what seemed like an absolute age, finally the lights went down and it was time to welcome headlining act Mayday Parade as only Oxford knows how. As the band hit the stage the deafening screams that emanated from the young crowd, anyone else would be forgiven for thinking Justin Bieber had entered the building rather than a small band from Florida! As with many dates on this tour – and we are sure the majority (if not all) the remaining dates will too – this first gig was a sold out affair.

From the very first song, Mayday Parade have this amazing gift of instantly transporting you back to your teenage years and the first time you ever heard the band. For many of the audience, this wasn’t too long ago, but for the older members of the audience (almost a decade ago for some of us) this is what makes gigs such as this so magical, few bands have this ability to make you feel 15 years old again but these boys somehow have it down to a tee.

Each song of the setlist was sung back to the band word perfectly, particularly ‘Miserable At Best’, which in all honesty vocalist Derek Sanders wasn’t really needed seeing as the crowd were that much louder. Other set highlights included ‘Jersey’, ‘Black Cat’, ‘Jamie All Over’ and encore track ‘I’d Hate To Be You When People Find Out What This Song Is About’ all of which seemed to be taken from the band’s 2007 debut album ‘A Lesson In Romantics’ and the most successful of their albums. Despite the notable success of this album, it was a happy change of pace seeing such a young audience identify with an album so well that wasn’t just the band’s most recent release (proving this fan base is full of genuine lovers of this outfit).

Each and every member of Mayday Parade had the charisma and impeccable stage presence to keep the audience captivated during their hour-long set, with particular note to Derek who had the audience in the palm of his hand – something everyone involved was loving! This show really couldn’t have gone any better and you have to assume that each band involved must be pretty pleased to have this down as their opening night. If things continue in this vein, it looks set to be one hell of a tour. Miss it and seriously miss out!

9/10

Reviewer: Amy Jones

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