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Live // MAYDAY PARADE, The Forum, London

Florida rockers bring their A Lesson In Romantics 10th anniversary tour to London.

“I’m not crying, you’re crying” which means the tears were shed last Saturday night.

Nostalgia takes over the moment I enter O2 Forum in Kentish Town. It’s been two years since their most recent album Black Lines, and of course a decade since the outstanding debut A Lesson In Romantics, and that’s the main reason why we’re here. No wonder the anticipation is rocking sky high. Also, what’s pretty interesting it is my second anniversary show this week, what makes me feel even older…

The hordes of eager fans quickly fill up the Camden’s venue while supporting acts warm up the crowd. Shout out to Aussie favourites With Confidence who serve such an exquisite set it feels like their own headliner. But the time is up and we all await the men of the night.

With highly energetic spirit and a bombastic flare, Mayday Parade jump on the stage and dive straight into Jamie All Over. The audience is hooked instantly, screaming and singing back every word. Well, of course they know all the lyrics. It’s been 10 years after all.

The fact that we all know what song comes next makes the set even more exciting. The rawness that defined A Lesson In Romantics in a way masterfully translates into the live format. Whilst Black Cat bursts into crushing guitars, imposing the fast-paced rhythmics that stick throughout the show, Jersey and If You Wanted A Song Written About You, All You Had To Do Was Ask bring back that melodic glow of arena-size choruses they thrive in.

“Are we doing good so far? You guys always make it feel special here. Are you ready for this next one?”, frontman Derek Sanders ponders as he takes a sit behind the piano. Subtle notes of their heartfelt ballad Miserable At Best hit the ether setting up a melancholic mood. Many people climb on to each other’s shoulders and join voices for a magnificent singalong moment. A truly beautiful part of the set that will be remembered for a long time.

Well, Mayday Parade surely have a thing for song titles. Their length, I mean. Walk On Water Or Drown conveys a punchy tone with its dynamic drum work, whereas I’d Hate To Be You When People Find Out What This Song Is About serves more delicate and emotional twist.

“I knew this would happen. I knew this would be the best night of this tour. Listen, I know there are people here that struggle with some things. But I want you to know that you matter. Everything matters. And the most important thing is to be a good person. I love you all, thank you”, Sanders expresses as the band launches into the closing track of ALIRYou Be The Anchor That Keeps My Feet On The Ground, I’ll Be The Wings That Keep Your Heart In The Clouds. The track sends us on an emotional journey one more time, amplifying to a lavish crescendo.

“That’s all. 12 songs. Let’s make a deal. 10 years from now on we’ll meet and do this all over again. Is it okay to keep on playing?”, Derek kicks off the acoustic set with a cover of Punk Rock Princess by Something Corporate.

From now on they intertwine some good oldies with newer material. “We’re gonna go way back before 10 years ago to the first song we wrote”, and Three Cheers For Five Years starts to echo throughout the room, next the stunning Stay rounds off the main set.

“Since we’re in London and this is the last show, can we play two more songs?”, we hear realising the end is near. The crowd uses all the energy that is left to scream their lungs out to Kids In Love and Oh Well, Oh Well, which are just the icing on the cake.

“I promise, we’ll be back as soon as we can. And we will keep coming back.” On this positive note they disappear from the stage while us, still sweaty and emotionally wrecked, head out into the cold night. Hopefully, we’ll meet at their next anniversary show.

Photos: Kasia Osowiecka