Where: Troxy, London
You can say one thing for Beautiful Bodies: when you walk into this moderately crowded room and see it being commanded from the front by the pint-sized blonde rampaging all over the stage, they’ve got you hooked. This band know how to work a room, that’s for sure. It’s like watching a preview for the new Suicide Squad movie, with a Harley Quinn type character causing chaos in the middle of the stage, surrounded by her male super villains who create the perfect platform for her mayhem. Manically brilliant, Beautiful Bodies make a great opener for this evening.
Check out ‘Capture & Release’ by Beautiful Bodies here.
Bringing a wave of calm over the room tonight is Have Mercy. It turns out to be welcome break from the full-throttle openers, as this alt-rock band flip the tone of the night on its head from a frenetic circus to a mellow composition. It’s hard to imagine that a voice so beautiful, so authentic and natural, comes from a band of bearded blokes who look like they forgot to dress for the occasion. But it does, and their soulful rock touches the hearts of this sentimental crowd (because let’s face it, Mayday Parade are the kings of the feels).
Check out ‘Two Years’ by Have Mercy here.
Charisma is something that oozes from every pore of The Maine. With their stylish brand of pop-rock they manage to produce some sickeningly catchy songs without tipping the scales with too much cheese; much of this is thanks to frontman John O’Callaghan’s irresistible stage presence. While their songs are certainly good enough to stand alone, with a fun sense of freedom capturing the live environment with ease, its O’Callaghan’s confidence that gives them their spark. The Maine set the room alight, and its the most lively crowd we see- including perhaps even our headliners.
Check out ‘English Girls’ by The Maine here.
Mayday Parade are a weird band; you can find yourself singing and dancing along, blissfully happy, one minute, then balled up in the fetal position sobbing your heart out the next. They are the rom-com of alternative bands, writing songs that are both cheery pop-punk bangers and gut-wrenching ballads, and that’s what makes them such a wonderfully underrated band.
Ensuring an audience doesn’t miss out on either isn’t an easy task, but when you pair feel-good road trip anthem ‘Jamie All Over’ with brutal tear-jerker ‘Terrible Things’, that does the trick. There are a few of these contrasts that work well tonight; ‘Black Cat’, with its click-a-long jazzy, satirical edge, and piano-led love story ‘Miserable At Best’ (the name says it all, really) is another great match, despite lead singer Derek Sanders’ sore throat. Like sweet and sour, the flavours just work.
But Mayday Parade haven’t got it quite right tonight, and it’s a real shame. Their latest album Black Lines was all about showing a heavier Mayday Parade that sheds their softer reputation- but along with it goes the intricate, poetic narratives and painfully emotive lyrics that made them so interesting in the first place, and that shows with some newer tracks. While lead single ‘One of Them Will Destroy the Other’ goes down relatively well, other new songs such as ‘Hollow’ and ‘Letting Go’ just dampen the mood. Seeing the room go so flat whilst such a great band perform is the most heart-breaking thing about tonight.
Thankfully they redeem themselves with encore song ‘Jersey’, which will always be a winner in our books. But if you’re seeing Mayday Parade for the first time tonight, we beg of you; please don’t judge them solely on what you’ve heard this evening. Mayday Parade have several albums packed with amazing tunes that stay with you forever… you just didn’t hear all that many of them tonight.
Check out ‘One of Them Will Destroy the Other’ by Mayday Parade here.