Derek Sanders commands the crowd to throw their hands up.
El Corazon // Seattle, WA // Oct. 8, 2009
I entered El Corazon welcomed by a sea of sweaty, middle-to-high school kids electric with anticipation for the pop-punk five-piece, Mayday Parade. The set started like any run-of-the-mill teeny show: bouncy beats, lovesick lyrics and hormonal teenagers releasing shrieks of delight, until somewhere along the third song (“The Silence”), guitar-driven melodies arched themselves into a song I caught myself enjoying.
Guitarist Alex Garcia proved himself talented and creative for a genre that’s been confined to the same three-chord style songwriting. Later on, front man Derek Sanders proved that he’s more than just a pretty face by bringing out a keyboard during a mid-set slowdown (“Miserable at Best”) that effectively climaxed to the whole lineup joining in for the last chorus of the song. All throughout the set, drummer Jake Bundrick blasted beats unfamiliar to traditional pop-punk sounds.
Alex Garcia's delightfully uncharacteristic lead lines set Mayday Parade apart.
As performers, the band’s overall energy is a perfect storm. Individually, each member commands his own 3'x3' section of the stage in a way that no matter where you look, there is something to watch. It sounds overwhelming, but in reality it’s purely entertaining. On occasion, the five shows will coordinate and explode into a spectacle of showmanship. By the set’s closing number (“Jersey”), the entire crowd was spellbound by the mixture of high energy music and performance that it forced you to have fun just in case you weren’t already.
Good pop-punk should get more credit. There's endless criticism on stress of image in the scene, and music fans often never allow themselves to get past the angled haircuts and tight jeans to give the music a fighting chance. Mayday Parade is hope that pop-punk can produce quality music despite the focus on packaging and selling bands as a product.
Jaime All Over
Kids in Love
Miserable at Best
Anywhere But Here
When I Get Home
-By Rosalie Anne Cabison; photos by Maddison Treadwell