Mayday Parade Brought The Nostalgia and Love to Packed Varsity Theater Show


I’ve said it before and I will continue saying it until I’m blue in the face– nostalgia is a hell of a drug. My week was a bit rough. Shows are coming back which is great but the amount of stress I have been feeling trying to get back into the swing of shows while being self-employed and trying to wear a million different hats every single day had me feeling a bit rough on Friday. Thankfully, Mayday Parade was in town and I knew that dose was pure nostalgia was exactly what I needed to remind me why I’m doing this and remind me just how far I’ve come.

My friend and I got in just as opening act Magnolia Park was taking the stage. I felt as I was almost in a daze as I hustled up to the photo pit to grab some stellar pictures of this amazing band but, once I got up there, I completely forgot I had to take pictures. Although an opening act and starting the show off super early for a Friday night (they took the stage promptly at 7), this band brought such a sense of power and energy to the stage that it was impossible to think about anything else other than how dang good this band was live. Hailing from Florida and signed to Epitaph Records, this is a band that I’ve heard a couple of singles from and, although they were great, I really just didn’t attach myself to the songs in any way for some reason. That changed as I watched them power through those songs during their quick set. From the energy to the movement to the undeniable connection with the packed audience, Magnolia Park may be the next big thing to hit the scene and I honestly couldn’t be happier for them!

Real Friends was the only other opening act on Friday night’s show and like Magnolia Park, I feel like I got in the photo pit and completely forgot what I was supposed to be doing up there because of the sheer power that they hit the stage with. Although a bit more familiar with this band than Magnolia Park, I still feel like I just haven’t given Real Friends the attention they deserve but after seeing them on Friday, that will absolutely change. This Illinois-bred band has a super cool sound. It’s very much a sound that can have me lost in a cloud of nostalgia instantly but there’s this almost hardcore influenced edge to some of their songs that absolutely hit in the perfect spot for me. The response from the crowd with every song that Real Friends performed during their set was amazing. From people screaming along to the words to other people just jumping and moving around to the frenzied beats, everyone was having a reaction and it was a beautiful thing to see and experience.

Much like many other bands from the early 2000’s pop-punk scene, Mayday Parade has never stopped working their butts off and putting out amazing music. Unfortunately, like many other bands from this era, I didn’t stick with them. Their 2007 album ‘A Lesson In Romantics’ will always be what I remember Mayday Parade for and will always be what I want to hear but that didn’t stop me from having an amazing time listening and watching them play through their 2011 self-titled album on Friday night. Although I couldn’t sing along to every word like I could have had it been a playthrough of ‘A Lesson In Romantics’, every song had me lost in a haze of nostalgia in the best possible way.

Although I’ve seen Mayday Parade too many times to count at this point, I feel like they just keep on getting better as the years go on. They have always had a super-powerful live show but I feel like every time I have the honor of catching them, they bring just a bit more power to the table and hit me in the heart a bit more every time. There’s a sense of heart that every member of this band brings to the stage when performing live. I don’t know how to quite explain it but you can tell that every member of this five-piece group truly enjoys what they are doing and absolutely feel alive on stage. From the way they interact with each other to the way they look and play with the audience, there’s just something so genuine about Mayday Parade that will keep me going back as long as they keep coming through.

As mentioned, Friday night’s set was a playthrough of their 2011 self-titled album which was an absolute treat to many people in the audience but it was the encore that ended with “Jersey” and “Jamie All Over” that really got my friend and I going. Although tired and probably a few too many drinks in, it’s as if we were in our respective bedrooms just belting out every word to these final two songs like our lives depended on it. We weren’t alone in that. Although there were a lot of people in the nearly sold-out show that were clearly there to hear the 2011 album, there were just as many people just waiting for their chance to live out their angsty teenage years with some songs from ‘A Lesson In Romantics’.

This past week was a rough one in my life– there’s no reason to hide or sugarcoat it. I needed Friday night. Not only did I need the nostalgia-filled cloud to get lost in, but I also needed that reminder of how far I’ve come. I’ve been going to shows for years and I remember my dad dropping me off at their shows back in the day. Being able to see how far they have come was a great way to remind me how far I’ve come and that made Friday night one of the best nights I’ve had in a long time.