LIVE REVIEW: Mayday Parade, The Wonder Years, Movements, pronoun, Troxy, London, 23/02/2019
Photo Credit: Anna Lee
Tonight the Troxy in East London is the setting for a real night of nostalgia and the coming together of new and old. One the hand there are two headlining bands who have over thirty years of combined experience between them, and on the other there are two young bands who are just getting their careers off the ground. Not only this, but the Troxy are also debuting their brand new state of the art JBL PA system for the headlining set, making tonight a particularly special one for the venue.
The musical act known as pronoun (the stage name for singer/guitarist/songwriter Alyse Vellturo) hits the stage first, flanked by her band and dives straight into her set of awkward, synth-pop songs. This year is looking to be very promising for this young artist who is set to drop her debut album, and if this performance is anything to go by she will do just fine as she engages well with the audience with her natural charisma and attitude. The songs themselves are chock full of catchy hooks and memorable choruses and sit very well with the ever-filling room. A decent opening set from an artist that shows a lot of potential for the future. 7/10
Next up is pop-punk outfit Movements, who live up to their name by bouncing around the stage like a group of Duracell bunnies and get the crowd moving along. The music itself is exactly what you’d expect of a young pop-punk band in 2019 with plenty of melodic breaks, bouncy, uplifting chord progressions and singalongs. The boys may not be breaking any new ground here artistically, but they do the job of warming up the crowd very well and at the end of the day that was their job here tonight. In that case, it was a success. 6.5/10
The first of the co-headliners, The Wonder Years, take to the stage bathed in light and jump headfirst into the title-track from last year’s Sister Cities album. Quickly the Troxy descends into chaos. The Wonder Years are a band who have truly put the effort in to connect with their UK fans, and that is very apparent from the outset with the amount of love that is shown to the band. Every single word of Local Man Ruins Everything is emphatically sang back to them as Dan ‘Soupy’ Campbell bares his soul for them. Dismantling Summer from 2013 effort The Greatest Generation goes down a storm, as the band are firing on all cylinders at this point with the vocal harmonies from the members sounding as good as ever and the instrumentals not missing a note; which is why it’s a little bit of a shame that the momentum is halted slightly by the inclusion of the Raining In Kyoto from their last album, which is not welcomed as warmly by the audience. The same could be said when they go from their classic There, There, which gets the entire crowd in a mass singalong, before once again throwing off the flow of the set with a lukewarm rendition of the Flowers Where Your Face Should Be.
However, all is quickly forgiven when they break out Don’t Let Me Cave In from fan-favourite 2011 album Suburbia I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing, before playing Pyramids Of Salt which is arguably the strongest track on Sister Cities and has already become a staple of the band’s live shows since it’s release. Before playing Heaven’s Gate (Sad & Sober), Soupy gives a heartfelt and impassioned speech about how the constant touring takes a toll on the band both physically and mentally, but they continue to do it because they genuinely love their fans and they love what they do. The back end of the set contains a mixture of the band’s back-catalogue, with classic tracks like Passing Through The Screen Door rubbing shoulders with newer tracks such as Cardinals and Cigarettes And Saints, before closing with the anthemic Came Out Swinging with its crescendo pulling the entire room together to singalong with Soupy, which sees the band finishing off their set like conquering heroes returning home. The performance from The Wonder Years cannot be faulted tonight, they are the constant professionals and are extremely good at what they do. Where they fall down here is in their choice of songs, which means that they never really maintain a rhythm and feel like they are constantly stopping and starting throughout the duration of their set. 7/10
By the time that Mayday Parade take to the stage it’s safe to say that around a quarter of the audience have made their exit from the venue (this is often the case when it comes to co-headlining tours). The band walk on to the stage with seemingly more lights than the half time show at the Super Bowl and go straight into Never Sure from last year’s Sunnyland album, before heading into the classic Jersey from the band’s breakthrough A Leason In Romantics, which shows that the band haven’t lapsed in their ability to write catchy emo-tinged rock tracks. The set list has been well planned and makes sure that the likes of A Piece Of Your Heart and It’s Hard To Be Religious When Certain People Are Never Incinerated By Lightening Bolts sit perfectly alongside older tracks such as Black Cat and Jamie All Over.
The band seem to be having real fun tonight and this is clear with one of the highlights of the set, when they break out the acoustic guitars for a nostalgic nod to the emo greats of early 2000s with a medley of My Friends Over You by New Found Glory, I’m Not Okay (I Promise) by My Chemical Romance and Cute Without The E (Cut From The Team) by Taking Back Sunday. Throw this in with a rendition of the 2011 pop anthem Somebody That I Used To Know by Gotye and the party keeps going, with the crowd lapping up every moment.
The new PA system ensures that the vocals from Derek Sanders sound clear and crisp as he works the crowd like it’s the early 2000s again. This is no more apparent than when the band strip everything back, with Sanders and bassist Jeremy Lenzo sat at the front of the stage behind the keyboard to play the classic ballad Miserable At Best in front of a sea of mobile phone lights and lighters. The whole set is a wonderful reflection of the music that paved the way for the musical pallates of many of the people in the crowd tonight, and when the band sign off with I’d Hate To Be You When People Find Out What This Song Is About it is the final stamp on a job well done.
Written by: Richard Webb