Celebrating Ten Years of Mayday Parade at First Avenue


Oh the mid-2000s – simpler times. The hair was long, the jeans were tight and the bracelets were plenty. Last night at First Avenue Minneapolis got to relive all the Warped-Tour-vibe glory of everyone’s favorite pop-punk quintet, Mayday Parade. This was just one of many stops on Mayday Parade’s A Lesson in Romantics 10th Anniversary Tour. 2017 seems to be the year of Anniversary Tours for the bands I grew up listening to high school, and hey, I’m not complaining. But nothing like an all-ages show with 5:30 pm doors, when I’m not even usually home from work yet, to remind me I’m no longer 15. I rushed down to First Ave, still in work clothes, from a benefits meeting to catch this show last night. But being 25 and no longer 15 means I made my way up the bar for a quick drink before the show.

Mayday Parade took to the stage at 8:00 pm sharp to a sold out Mainroom. The crowd was a mix of 20/30 somethings like myself reliving all our emo-drenched glory years, and to my surprise a younger crowd as well. Mayday Parade, though oh-so nostalgic to this millennial, clearly is still garnering a new fanbase, proving that pop punk is alive and well.

Last night Mayday Parade played their entire first album  A Lesson in Romantic from top to bottom, which in all honesty is exactly what a 10-year Anniversary show should be. There was not a voice in the crowd not singing along last night. There really was a contagious and youthful energy that permeated the room. “Tomorrow, you go back to your real life and everything that comes with that, but tonight is about having fun,” frontman Derek Sanders said a few songs into the set. And that is exactly what last night was – a night of nostalgia and putting reality on hold, even just for a few hours.

During the set, Sanders gave a nice nod to Minneapolis and the anniversary of Prince’s death (this weekend)  by dedicating “I’d Hate to Be You When People Find Out What This Song Is About,” to Prince. A thoughtful and necessary gesture, that may or may not have got made my eyes well up. As I stood stage left, slightly tucked away from the crowd and watching Sanders interact with this massive crowd, I was struck by the acute awareness Sanders seems to possess his fans base (both new and old) and the place his band has in so many hearts of music fans. Last night really seemed to be just as special for Sanders and the rest of Mayday Parade as it was for the fans. “We’ve been coming to Minneapolis for along time, but getting to play this record in it’s entirety, to a crowd like this is amazing,” Sanders said with a deep feeling of gratitude in his voice. As Sanders sat behind the piano for a stripped down version on Miserable At Best, it felt like 2008 all over again, watching one of my favorite bands do what they do so well.

In the “emo” scene, Mayday Parade always stood out as a band carrying a message of hope, acceptance, and positivity. Last night was no different. Before launching into their final song on the album, Sanders shared a timely and relevant message, “You know, for every good thing that happens in the world, there is something bad somewhere that happens. But you know, it’s not about race, religion, gender or sexual preference, it’s about being a good person, a thoughtful person.” Mayday Parade closed the first half of their set with “You Be the Anchor.”

“And that’s the album you guys. Now we can all get together in another ten years and do this again,” Sanders said with a smile before continuing into the second half of their set. There was a shift in the room when Mayday Parade finished the  A Lesson in Romantics portion of the set. Although it seemed a good majority of the crowd was there to hear the first album, there was still an excitement over the new songs. In fact, some people just seemed to know the newer material. Mayday Parade is clearly still hooking new fans, just as they did for so many of us ten years ago.

Mayday Parade was supported on tour by Milestones and Knuckle Puck, two other solid pop punk bands. They were the perfect kick off to an evening of nostalgia with Mayday Parade.

Set List: Jamie All Over / Black Cat / When I Get Home, You’re So Dead / Jersey / If You Wanted a Song Written About You, All You Had to Do Was Ask/ Miserable at Best / Walk on Water or Drown / Ocean and Atlantic / I’d Hate to Be You When People Find Out What This Song Is About / Take This to Heart / Champagne’s for Celebrating (I’ll Have a Martini) / You Be the Anchor That Keeps My Feet on the Ground, I’ll Be the Wings That Keep Your Heart in the Clouds /  Yesterday (The Beatles cover)/ Terrible Things / Three Cheers for Five Years / When You See My Friends / Let’s Be Honest / Keep in Mind, Transmogrification Is a New Technology / Kids in Love