By Lexie Pitzen | Photo: Lexie Pitzen
Last weekend, on Sunday, November 3, 2019, Mayday Parade came back home to Tallahassee to play a show at The Moon in celebration of the 10th anniversary of “Anywhere But Here,” the band’s sophomore album. The band played the album from start to finish, including some songs they had never played live before.
Mayday Parade formed in Tallahassee in 2005, and have played occasional concerts here over the years, including a show at The Moon last year for their “Welcome to Sunnyland” tour. Throughout the fall of 2019, they traveled across the country for their “Forever Emo” tour. And, at the end of October, they hosted Emo Night at The Wilbury, an intimate local venue near Railroad Square. Emo Night set the tone for the “Anywhere But Here” anniversary show happening just days later.
On November 3, fans lined up outside The Moon in combat boots, black jeans, and “Forever Emo” tee-shirts. The line represented a fairly wide range of ages; a man to my left commented that some fans would have been in the single digits when “Anywhere But Here” came out in 2009. Later in the night, these very fans would prove to be just as passionate about the music as the older ones were.
As we waited for the doors to open, the first note of My Chemical Romance’s “Welcome To The Black Parade,” dripped through the speakers. At the familiar “G” note, we all stood up a little straighter. Only 4 days earlier, these emo icons had officially announced that they will reunite after breaking up in 2013. MCR’s discography continued to build excitement in the hours before Mayday Parade showed up.
At 7:00 p.m., the doors finally opened to reveal black and white “Forever Emo” photo props and Mayday Parade merch stands. Onstage, red balloons reading “Anywhere But Here” hung over the drum set. Opening act Stages and Stereos warmed up the crowd with original songs like “Small Town Favorites” and “Julia Gulia” along with a well-received cover of MCR’s “Helena.”
The general admission pit was completely packed when Mayday Parade finally came out and started the show with “Kids in Love,” the first song of “Anywhere But Here.” Early in the show, frontman Derek Sanders warned the crowd that he “went a little too hard at Emo Night” and had fractured his foot. He apologized in advance if the injury slowed him down. It did not.
The band proceeded to play “Anywhere But Here” in full, from start to finish, including some songs live for the first time, like “Center of Attention.” A crowd favorite was an acoustic “I Swear This Time I Mean It,” featuring just Sanders and his guitar.
After “The End,” the last song off the album, Sanders asked if the band should play the b-sides—if we even knew the b-sides—and received a resounding yes. They then played “So Far Away” and “The Memory,” both for the first time live.
And, predictably, playing the whole album wasn’t enough. The show closed with “Piece Of My Heart” from Mayday Parade’s most recent album, “Sunnyland,” then “Oh Well, Oh Well” and “Jamie All Over,” 2 of the band’s most popular songs ever.
Just when we had given up hope of an encore, the band came back out to perform “Jersey.” I felt blessed to experience the song live, as it’s the one that brought me into the fanbase at age 14, 9 years after it came out in 2005.
Seeing Mayday Parade perform in their hometown was an intimate, special experience. It’s unclear whether or not the band will play another big show in Tallahassee in 2020, but local fans will have another chance to see them before the end of this year. On November 29, 2019, the band will be at The Wilbury for a vinyl release and acoustic show celebrating the bands that became Mayday Parade.
“Back to where it all began,” the band tweeted. “Defining Moment and Kid Named Chicago, the two Tallahassee bands that came together to form Mayday Parade. These songs are still meaningful to us, and we felt like they should exist in the form of vinyl.”
A maximum of 500 vinyl copies will be available. Tickets to the show are $10.00 for sale at Retrofit Records, Midtown Pies, Big Chiefs Smoke Shop, and The Wilbury. All proceeds from the show will be donated to charity.