Written By | Jilian McLendon
Mayday Parade marched into the Classic City November 1st with as much gusto as they could muster for their sold out show of original songs plus covers of their favorite emo and pop punk jams! Athens, GA was their first stop on this combined Forever Emo / Anywhere But Here (2009) anniversary tour with several selected dates through the month of November playing the aforementioned album in its entirety. The 40 Watt Club was still decorated for spooky season from all the previous day’s Halloween festivities which was complete with cobwebs, lots of string lights, and a decapitated head hanging from a spinning disco ball in the center of the house.
Local award-winning mixer, DJ My Chemical Bromance, opened the night with crowd-pleasing pop punk tracks from All Time Low’s “Dear Maria” to Blink-182’s “I Miss You”, “Face Down” by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, and closed his set with Simple Plan’s “I’m Just A Kid”. We were an extra sentimental bunch having just been made aware (on Halloween day) of a My Chemical Romance reunion after a six year hiatus! To pay tribute to the beloved news and newly founded scene-proclaimed “national holiday”, MCR anthem “Welcome To The Black Parade” was played and sung loud and proud!
Mayday Parade dazzled on stage and were clearly filled with first-night-tour enthusiasm. This show was particularly captivating because we had absolutely no idea what the set list would entail! The Forever Emo Tour has been marketed as a cover heavy show of influential punk and emo songs specific to Mayday Parade through the years. They have a plethora of original content as well so with each song’s ending we were left on our toes, happily anxious for more. The setlist was any scene kid’s dream with amazing covers of Dashboard Confessional’s “Screaming Infidelities”, My Chemical Romance’s “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)”, The Killer’s “Mr. Brightside” (which I was so surprised and delighted to hear as a Killers fan myself!)
During their rendition of “Grand Theft Autumn / Where Is Your Boy” by Fall Out Boy, bags of white balloons were released into the crowd donning Mayday Parade insignia!
Die Hard Mayday Parade fans were also treated to tracks from their own discography like “Oh Well, Oh Well” Mayday Parade (2011), “Jaime All Over” A Lesson In Romantics (2007), and “Piece Of Your Heart” Sunnyland (2018). From start to finish, the Tallahassee-based quintet bewitched the crowd. Their exuberance beamed and it was clear that partaking in this experience with us was humbling and appreciated. Derek Sanders (lead vocals) shared with us his excitement about being in Athens for the first time ever and was pretty stoked that we were still in town for their show during a GA/FL weekend!
Jeremy Lenzo (bass guitar), Brook Betts (rhythm guitar), and Alex Garcia (lead guitar) shine on stage with incredible presence not to be ignored. Jake Bundrick (drums) crushed it hard! Fans have known that he’s been suffering with some personal health issues, but we are ever so thrilled that he could be behind those drums!
At the close of the set, they exited stage left with a club full of adoring fans yelling, begging for an encore: “MAY-DAY! MAY-DAY! MAY-DAY!” And alas, we were graced with one more appearance and song “Jersey” A Lesson In Romantics (2007) as their final “goodbye” to us. Mayday Parade absolutely dominated Athens, GA and left us with a celebratory night that filled our emo hearts. We won’t forget it anytime soon.
Photo Credit: Jilian McLendon