The Metro, Sydney NSW
October 7th, 2016
Supports – Cambridge, The Early November
Before the Metro doors were even open last Friday night, the block was teeming with young punters eager to catch the Floridian rockers. The energetic five-piece hit Aussie shores for a sold-out run just last year, yet their fans were clearly hungry for more as the band announced their return in support of fifth record Black Lines (2015). The group certainly played a dynamic and memorable set, dripping with throwbacks as they mostly treated the crowd to cuts from debut album A Lesson in Romantics (2007) and 2011’s self-titled release.
Sydney pop-punkers Cambridge set the pace for what was to come. Most eyes were glued to vocalist Brad Smith as he spun and caught his mic more than a few times, even side-hopping across the stage at one point. His interaction with guitarist Scott Rooney was particularly entertaining when he lowered his mic stand, making it extra difficult for him to sing backing vocals.
Yet what really came out firing was Smith’s banter, which was second to none. Smith’s remarks drew out more than a few laughs, particularly when he remarked drily about no-one in the crowd having heard of their songs before launching into ‘Head Over Heels’ off debut album Create. Destroy. Rebuild. While plagued with mic problems earlier in the set, the track was an easy highlight as the frontman belted his best vocals of the night. Drummer Scott Young and Dave Smith on bass also fed well into what was a consistently energetic gig.
In July, The Early November’s leading man Ace Enders told Hysteria Magazine that the New Jersey outfit “draw completely different fans [to the headliners], which is awesome.” As they took to the stage after Cambridge’s rip-roaring run, this was quickly apparent as the crowd took a while to get going.
Nonetheless, they opened strong with the even-paced, intense ‘Better That Way’ off their fourth LP Imbue (2015). Songs from the latest album dominated the performance, as did the enigmatic yet ever-gracious Enders as he delivered both soaring highs and powerful strumming with ease. “Beautiful” also turned out to be his word of the night as he gazed out into the crowd, directly reciprocating the love of several frenzied fans who he promised he’d play cards with.
Bassist Sergio Anello also stole the show about halfway through, climbing atop a black box mid-song before launching himself back onto the stage. The whole band also impressed with their sheer ability to transition from soft to hard, and with such intensity. By the time the rockers closed out their show, they’d definitively won over the majority of punters.
Then, it was time.
Cause Jersey just got colder and / I’ll have you know I’m scared to death.
Yet even before this opening lyric to old banger ‘Jersey’ was uttered by Derek Sanders, the reaction to the band coming up on stage was immediate. Bodies were slammed towards the front as the headliners dived into their show with all guns blazing.
Cuts from Black Lines featured during the early parts of the set. The group deftly transitioned from the blistering ‘Keep In Mind, Transmogrification Is A New Technology’ to beautiful back-to-back acoustics, including the poignant ‘Letting Go’. Another fresh track ‘Hollow’, played slightly later in the set, was a real crowd-pleaser with its catchy chorus and heavy bass.
It was their delivery of the classics though, which really made the night something special. The mosh-ready chorus and deft fingers of axeman Alex Garcia on ‘Black Cat’ as he let them fly culminated into one of the best moments of the night. This ripper of a track and others in the set like the youthfully idealistic ‘Jamie All Over’ displayed the band’s heavier side, while showing just what the band can do when really letting their explosive energy loose.
The nostalgia imbuing the performance carried all the way to the gig’s final moments. There was a glimpse of moisture in the frontman’s eyes as he stared out into a sea of die-hard fans, and he induced plenty of emotion himself as he backed the heartrending Mayday Parade favourite ‘Stay’ with their first record’s chilling ‘Miserable At Best’.
After smashing out another old banger ‘Kids In Love’ and departing the stage, calls for the band to come back were raucous and immediate. Responding to the love thrown their way within moments, the five-piece ended the night on a high as they broke out into ‘I’d Hate to Be You When People Find Out What This Song Is About’.
While it was finally time for Mayday Parade to say their goodbyes, the vibes of a huge and pure crowd sing-along lingered.
Review by Genevieve Gao
Keep in Mind, Transmogrification Is a New Technology
When You See My Friends
Jamie All Over
Three Cheers for Five Years
Oh Well, Oh Well
When I Get Home, You’re So Dead
Kids in Love
Let’s Be Honest
Miserable at Best
I’d Hate to Be You When People Find Out What This Song Is About