"Fans, male and female alike, shout out dedications of love to Sanders and his bandmates."
It's just past 8pm when local five-piece Harbours step on stage. The crowd takes a while to warm up to this alternative rock outfit. Tory Robertson's vocals are shouted but include hardcore screams much like The Used or A Day To Remember. Halfway through the set, Robertson accidentally unplugs his microphone, but you can still hear him shouting over the distorted guitars and the heavy drums and bass. For the final track, Pulling Teeth, Robertson ends up standing on the barrier screaming in people's faces.
New Jersey pop punk heavyweights, The Early November hit the stage next. Frontman Ace Enders greets the crowd and says, "Thank you so much for looking at us." They launch into their first track Better This Way. Their performance is polished, although this isn't surprising for a band that started in the late '90s. Even constrained behind a mic stand, Enders pours his whole being into the performance as he tears through each lyric. His vocals are dynamic - kept soft and clean for verses and shouted during the choruses. Mid-set, the band throw in a track they wrote backstage about a Melbourne whisky bar. They wrap up with Baby Blue and Tell Me Why and those in the room who were not already fans, are won over.
When the lights go down, the room erupts with fangirl screams. This is Mayday Parade's sixth visit to our shores and their third sold out show on this tour. The band launch straight into Jersey. There is a slight dip in energy when they play a new track, Keep In Mind, Transmogrification Is A New Technology, however the energy soars back up when the quintet starts the opening riff of When You See My Friends.
Frontman Derek Sanders roams the stage trying to make eye contact with every one of us. The smiles never leave the faces of all in the band as fans shout out every word. Mayday Parade play around with the song arrangements, extending phrases to allow Sanders to sing unaccompanied together with the crowd. Fans, male and female alike, shout out dedications of love to Sanders and his bandmates.
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For the last two songs, Sanders sits at the keyboard. The guitarists walk off stage after Stay. Miserable At Best starts and drummer Jake Bundrick sings the second vocal part. We scream out the last chorus as the music stops and the lights go down.