Seeing bands at multiple times during a calendar year is interesting. You notice all the different nuances and quirks that go into a set change or the light setup. I’ve gotten to see Mayday Parade during the cold March climate in Texas at South By So What and Real Friends a month back during their tour with Every Time I Die. I could use the term “road warriors” here to define the pop-punk bands who grind it out all year for their growing fan bases, but you can see that just by attending one of these shows. It was time to get reacquainted as the AP Tour rolled into New York in the newly-named Playstation Theater.
The acoustic duo, This Wild Life was the calm before the storm as far as the overall acts go. Bathed in dark lights, the duo prompted fans to combine their cell phones lights together as they played songs like “Ripped Away” and “Stay Up Late”. They ended their set with “Concrete,” which prompted Anthony Del Grosso to get behind Real Friend’s drum kit and hammer out which would be considered their “up-tempo” song.
If you’ve ever seen Real Friends before, you know you’re in for a good time. This is where the “light” crowd surfing began and as a fan threw a shirt toward lead singer Dan Lambton, he shrouded himself in it as he jumped into the opener, “Cover You Up”. Fans seemed to come alive and crowd the front during “Lost Boy” and “Sixteen”. I enjoy seeing Real Friends every single time, with this show marking the third this year for me.
Mayday Parade is riding high on the wave of their recently released album, Black Lines. The lighting and atmosphere were amazing, with lights on each side of the drummer that would momentarily light up with the bands’ name in red and blue. “One of Them Will Destroy the Other” started the headlining set on a good note, with Lambton coming back on stage to perform his part. Guitarists Alex Garcia and Brooks Betts made use of the rotating light structure, headbanging their way through classics like “Jamie All Over.” There was a small acoustic set in between that featured lead singer Derek Sanders performing “I Swear This Time I Mean It” and “Terrible Things”, prompting some audience members to hug and even cry. It was a great break and well timed.
Black Lines earned the band its first number one record in the rock and alternative charts upon it’s release. Some people may say that pop-punk is melding into one big sound, but by the looks of the AP Tour, the audience is as thirsty for the sound as ever.