LIVE: Mayday Parade / The Wonder Years / Movements / Pronoun @ Troxy, London

By Dave Stewart

February isn’t a month that most would associate with pop-punk – especially not in the UK. February usually means grey skies, continuous rain and general misery, which is the complete opposite of everything pop-punk stands for. When a stacked line up is in your city, though, you strap on your sunnies and drag your mates to the show, and that stacked line-up hit London in the form of two of the genre’s heavyweights – nostalgic legends Mayday Parade and heart wrenching heavy hitters The Wonder Years. With Movements and Pronoun providing stellar support, this was an unmissable show. And what a show it was.

Opening the night, Pronoun used their upbeat indie pop stylings to their advantage to win over the early crowd. Usually a one woman band, singer/guitarist Aylse Vellturo had a full band with her for tonight’s performance, all of whom provided a little extra weight and punch to deliver to the gradually growing audience. Every single song was met with cheer and applause, their set proving to be the perfect warm up for the evening ahead.

Next up was Movements, a Californian post-hardcore quartet. They made their UK debut a little under a year ago, but their debut record ‘Feel Something’ has clearly won over a lot of tonight’s attendees as their first song ‘Third Degree’ jolted the crowd into action. The band was noticeably taken aback by the number of people who knew the words, with front man Patrick Miranda grinning and smiling throughout their set. The singing and jumping continued with big hitters ‘Colorblind’ and ‘Full Circle’ as the room continued to fill to near capacity. By the time they’d reached their set closer the room was packed, and by the time the emotional ‘Daylily’ was over, it burst into applause. Movements are a breath of fresh air for the genre, and they set the bar high for the rest of the night. That bar would usually be difficult to raise by any band that followed – but the next band isn’t always The Wonder Years.

As soon as the lights dimmed, the electricity in the room hit a new high. It was clear that a large majority of the attendees tonight were here for The Wonder Years, which was made most obvious by the surge of screaming that occurred when front man Dan ‘Soupy’ Campbell made his way onto the stage. They tore straight into the title track of their most recent record ‘Sister Cities’, which was met with deafening chants and lots of movement from the crowd. The energy levels remained high for their entire set as they ripped through songs from all across their back catalogue, from the bouncy ‘Dismantling Summer’ and the moving ‘Cigarettes and Saints’, all the way back to classics like ‘Don’t Let Me Cave In’.

There were a lot of high points in their flawless set, the first of which came in the form of a powerful performance of ‘There, There’. There were very few dry eyes in the house as the screams of “I’m sorry I don’t laugh at the right times” echoed through the venue – but it didn’t stop there. They followed up with ‘Flowers Where Your Face Should Be’, one of the most emotionally heavy tracks in their catalogue. The lighters and phone torches were out in full force here, making the house lights completely redundant. It seemed like the entire room knew the words to ‘Passing Through The Screen Door’, and the same could be said for set closer ‘Came Out Swinging’, which shot the crowd into a frenzy. One of the genre’s best proved exactly why they’re held in such high regard, playing an energetic and powerful set with absolute precision. The room was left exhausted, taking advantage of the minutes that followed to recover and prepare for the final band of the evening.

Mayday Parade are one of those bands that can do no wrong. Their entire back catalogue is strong, having put out consistently good records ever since they formed well over a decade ago. They’ve played a huge part in introducing a lot of fans to this genre of music, and because of that there was a wide age range in attendance; two different generations coming together in unison for a big ol’ slice of emo pop-punk goodness. The performances of every song caused different areas of the crowd to burst into action for songs that represented their era, and others to launch into song in unison.

They came on stage to one of the singles from their newest record ‘Never Sure’, which burst a portion of the crowd into action, but seemed not to hit home with everybody. A huge number were visibly fans of ‘A Lesson In Romantics’, and luckily for them a big portion of the set was made up of songs from that record. The first example of this was second song of the night ‘Jersey’, where the crowd were as loud as the band – if not louder. Everywhere you looked, people were grabbing each other, dancing around and screaming the lyrics into each others faces. The same energy was replicated for the other tracks from that record – ‘Black Cat’, ‘Jamie All Over’, and ‘I’d Hate To Be You When People Find Out What This Song Is About’. As well-received as those songs were, though, the best parts of their set were found elsewhere.

Towards the end of the set, most of the band disappeared except for front man Derek Sanders and drummer/vocalist Jake Bundrick. Their crew brought a keyboard and another microphone to the front of the stage, and down they sat for a couple of songs. The first of those songs was the emo anthem ‘Miserable At Best’, a song that they announced they hadn’t played on the entire tour. Everyone in the room seemingly latched on to the person next to them, delicately swaying along and singing every single word back at the stage. They followed this with a stunning performance of ‘Stay’, which got an even bigger reaction from the audience. The pure emotion in this track is enough to make even the blackest of hearts break, and it caused a wave of goosebumps to spread through the room. Mayday Parade played a fun, powerful and nostalgia filled set, and left everyone in Troxy with a big smile on their face.

All four bands put on an incredible show, but the night was dominated by The Wonder Years. None of the bands put a foot wrong, all performing solid sets, but the way The Wonder Years powered through theirs was unmatchable. The flow of the set and their choice of songs were perfect, and there wasn’t a single attendee that wasn’t left stunned at the end of their set. The entire evening was a huge success, perfectly finished with Mayday Parade’s set of blasts from the past. Who cares what the weather is like outside when pop-punk this good exists, eh?