The Electric Ballroom, Camden, London Thursday 4th October 2012
Floridian rockers Mayday Parade, and friends Natives, The Summer Set and For The Foxes show Camden exactly how it’s done.
It’s just getting dark and there’s a chill in the air; summer is well and truly over. Yet Camden is over-run with teenagers who are braving the cold in their short shorts, and have obviously been for a while, judging by the length of the queue for tonight’s show at the Electric Ballroom. It’s 10 minutes to doors and a gaggle of pushy girls at the front are singing and inching their way towards the doors, only to be told to move back by security guards. This crowd is eager to get in. The venue fills quickly and as music plays from the venue’s PA, there’s a sense of excitement in the air.
The lights go down suddenly, and in seconds the animated chatter makes way for ear-splitting screams as first band of the night, Natives take to the stage in a whirlwind of screams and crashing drums, getting an instant response from the throng. You wouldn’t be wrong if you thought these guys looked familiar, rising from the ashes of Not Advised with a new name, singer James Thomas bounds onstage and exclaims, “I wanna see you bouncing. Do you know how to bounce London?” commanding us to “get the fuck up” throughout the set, and during their second song got the majority of the crowd to kneel down and jump up when the song “kicks back in”.
Playing with the crowd, singer James also incited a kind-of dance competition during super fun and catchy track This Island. After taking two pictures of the mass of people, he decided to auction off the spare to anyone who pulled the best shapes during the track. “I’ve picked a winner”, he smiled when the song ended and climbed into the pit to give it to its rightful owner. This is a band who know how to work a crowd and know how to put on a great show. Colourful, catchy, energetic and fun, the lyric “gonna set this place on fire” rings true through the air – the match has undoubtedly been lit, the night is underway.
Pop/Indie outfit For The Foxes are next up, and sadly the New Jersey five-piece don’t get as instantaneous a reaction, but for their first time in our “beautiful city” that’s expected.”We’ve never been overseas” they explain. It’s only part-way through the set when the band walk offstage and singer Nicholas Francis performs slower track The River, accompanied by just a piano, that the audience are completely won over. But slow and steady wins the race, and by the last song of the set the crowd are responding and collectively have their hands in the air. “That’s a beautiful thing.” Francis comments, and it was.
Arizonan pop/rockers The Summer Set are the final support of the night, and set opener Chelsea gets the crowd going immediately. Their energy and fun is infectious and almost instantly, singer Brian Logan Dales has the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand. “Even though we’ve only played three shows of this tour, the other shows have a lot to compare to.” Says Dales, and even goes so far as to say “London is the best city in England.” They played a blistering set of older and newer tracks, like When We Were Young, Someone Like you, and full-out party track, Must Be The Music. As well as tracks from their rockier first album, The Boys You Do, Young, and Punch Drunk Love, each one colourful, and had the audience clapping and bouncing along throughout.
They even treated us to a track off their new record, which is due for release next year. “I don’t want to wait that long to play something new.” Says Brian before inciting a mass sing-along with the crowd. “ooh you guys are a lot better than last night I wanna get real crazy”, he says cheekily after we repeat the song’s la la la refrain back to him, and asks us to repeat the song’s chorus, “I didn’t mean to fuck you, I didn’t mean to fuck you over.” “You guys are disgusting”, he jokingly reprimanded before launching into the song.
“If we come back, will you come back too?” Dales asks, and judging by the electricity in the room and the reaction they got tonight, the answer is obvious.
Headliners, Mayday Parade are met with a chorus of glass shattering screams as the crush surges forward, trying to get as close to the stage as possible. Band and crowd alike are as excited and energetic as ever and tracks like Jersey and Oh Well, Oh Well, send the venue into a frenzy.
They also played tracks, You Be The Anchor and their first ever song – that they wrote seven years ago – Three Cheers for Five Years. But the standout moments weren’t during the moments of craziness but during slower numbers Miserable At Best, and Stay. The two songs showcase Mayday’s brilliant songwriting and capability to write emotive songs. Singer, Derek Sanders took to the stage with just a keyboard to sing Miserable At Best, and the crowd vehemently sang every word along with him, their arms in the air, lighters and camera phone’s twinkling and capturing the beauty of the moment. Hearing that, you could feel the love in the room and it really was moving.
It really was something to experience, and the whole night was electric from start to finish. Sanders commented that tonight was the best show of the tour, and if the atmosphere and the vibe in the room was any indication, I definitely agree with him.
And keep your eyes peeled for my next post when I had a quick chat with Brian from The Summer Set ahead of their Kingston date.