As the name of the tour suggests, it’s been 10 years since Mayday Parade’s hit debut album A Lesson in Romantics, which has since sold over 200,000 copies and been listed as one of Rock Sound‘s “The 51 Most Essential Pop Punk Albums of All Time”. If you listened to pop punk as a teenager, you’ve almost definitely heard this album. Fans both older and younger quickly fill up the main room of Birmingham’s O2 Institute, ready to hear it again.
All Get Out are the first to take the stage and they waste no time in grabbing the room’s attention. They appear more than comfortable on stage and do a solid job in not only entertaining, but in getting everyone present appropriately pumped up for the first of the night. The half hour set loses a little momentum around half way through, but they pick themselves up well and end strong and with a literal bang as lead singer Nathan Hussey lets his guitar drop down into the fortunately vacant press pit.
There’s an obvious joke to make about the amount of confidence Australian four-piece With Confidence bring to the stage, but I’ll let you get there yourself. Needless to say, the band have me and everyone else hooked right from opening single “Voldemort”. Though young as a group compared to tonight’s headliners, With Confidence have a tight, well put together sound and know how to entertain a crowd, owning the stage with an infectious energy that has everyone bouncing along with them and constructing a set with seemingly zero weak spots. For extra points, they save my favourite song of theirs, “Keeper”, for last, ending on an extremely high note that leaves me highly looking forward to the next time they come to town.
As promised, Mayday Parade come out to deliver A Lesson in Romantics in full, opening with huge crowd pleasers in “Jamie All Over” and “Black Cat”. Vocalist Derek Sanders can hardly stand still, leaping about the stage and grinning the whole time as if he’d rather be nowhere else. It’s a wonder the band have the energy reserves to play this enthusiastically for the whole set, but somehow they manage it. Some of these songs may be dusty in terms of the band’s history, but the amount of love on display from both the band and the crowd make it into an overall charming performance. This is a show fuelled by affection, proven especially during “Miserable at Best” which has the whole packed room singing.
An acoustic encore gets an interesting response, with a cover of Something Corporate’s “Punk Rock Princess” flying over the heads of many of the audience but going down well with those who recognize it. “Terrible Things” has hundreds of phones swaying in place of lighters which, along with more relatively recent hits like “Oh Well, Oh Well” or “Kids In Love”, makes this show into even more of a love letter from the band. Overall it’s a great night for the fans, with a strong display of new talent and a lovely trip down memory lane for one of pop punk’s most influential bands.
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