A night of throwback pop-rock



Mayday Parade

Nostalgia buzzed through Burlington’s Higher Ground Ballroom on Tuesday, March 22 as co-headliners The Maine and Mayday Parade helped their devoted fan bases reminisce on the asymmetrical haircuts and neon hued clothing that they have since replaced with snapbacks and student loan debt.

Remaining the same, however, are each band’s abilities to energize droves of devoted fans with their infectious music and the ability to create an intimacy with their fans.

Hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, The Technicolors opened the evening to little fanfare. Lone frontman and guitarist Brennan Smiley tore through an eclectic set of distortion-heavy guitar tracks, similar to brit-pop band, The 1975. According to Smiley, his bandmates opted to stay in Arizona, essentially making him a solo artist for a night.

Covering The Killers’ 2006 alt-rock smash “When You Were Young,” The Technicolors adapted the arena-sized hooks for an intimate flourish of down-tempo garage rock. Smiley delivered an emotive vocal performance in addition to his guitar mastery.

Smiley ended his set with a compelling display of innovative guitar playing, inflected with howling bass drops, keyboard interplay, and scorching solos. This exhibition resulted in widespread applause and piqued interest in the relatively unknown artist.

Following The Technicolors’ set was Tempe, Arizona pop-rock quintet The Maine, who have been championing their colorful brand of pop-rock around the world since 2007.

Opening with the crooning ballad, “Into Your Arms,” The Maine wooed the crowd into a synchronized sway. Lead guitarist Jared Monaco’s melodiously sweetened riffs complemented the song’s alt-country swing before lead vocalist John O’Callaghan broke into a trembling falsetto during the chorus.
O’Callaghan dipped in and out of the fanning stage lights so that just his face and guitar were peeking through the curtains of deep violet.

The band followed with a succession of new and old material such as “American Candy,” a moody anthem that was accompanied by two spiraling red, white, and blue stage lights that bathed the shifting crowd in an iridescent glow.

One of many fan-favorites from their earliest years in 2008, “Girls Do What They Want,” whipped the ballroom into a nostalgic frenzy with their saccharine whoa-whoa chorus and razor-sharp guitars.

Between songs, the tattooed and lanky O’Callaghan teased his audience, including one attendee who was leaning against the floor-wide barricade and donning a wool sweater. The sweaty O’Callaghan jokingly wished him “good luck,” before leading his bandmates into a bouncing groove with the Third Eye Blind-esque pop song “Diet Soda Society,” followed by the breezy and soulful “Am I Pretty?”

The drum kit sat upon a riser overlooking the ballroom, giving long-haired drummer Pat Kirch license to showcase a combination of technical prowess and showmanship.

“Right Girl” continued the evening’s good vibes as the mostly female crowd roared again with every gesture made by the charismatic O’Callaghan.

The latter half of The Maine’s set got the room back into a sultry mood, as the stylish rock number “Same Suit, Different Tie” helped the audience dance with Garrett Nickelsen’s grooving bassline throughout the song.

The Maine continued their hour-long set with rousing performances of the provocative “English Girls” and the neon-pop classic “Everything I Ask For.”

The Maine gave way to Mayday Parade with the piano-led ode to barroom mischief and social belongingness, “Another Night on Mars.” Once the sing-a-long section hit, the entire ballroom erupted into a massive chorus of laughter and song: “What’s another night on Mars? With friends like ours!”

The Tallahassee, Florida-bred Mayday Parade opened the final set of the evening with an electric performance of the barn-burning “One of Them Will Destroy the Other.”

Silk-smooth lead vocalist Derek Sanders, whose signature fan-made bracelets adorned his entire right forearm, seemed to automatically win over the audience upon taking the stage with a shy smile and easy Southern accent, and long, damp hair that fell on both sides of his shoulders.

The audience ticked the decibel level up again once rhythm guitarist Brooks Betts initiated the chunky opening riff of “Jamie All Over,” while Sanders and drummer Jake Bundrick traded call-and-response vocals throughout the song.

Unlike The Maine’s set, the members of Mayday Parade kept the stage banter clean while toasting their tenth year as a band with the throwback tunes “Three Cheers for Five Years” and the tear-jerking “Terrible Things,” which their fans widely accept as the crown jewel of all songs within the Mayday Parade canon.

The blinding light show ran in synchronization with the energy displayed on stage, dimming when the band stepped into the spooky, bass-led “Hollow,” and spiraling into whites, reds, and purples during the massive sing-a-long chorus of “Oh Well, Oh Well.”

Lead guitarist Alex Garcia showcased his bluesy technique during a blistering performance of “Black Cat,” while also trading riffs with Betts during the verses.

For their encore, the band broke into the only track they ever play off their 2009 major label flop “Anywhere but Here”: the summer anthem “Kids In Love.” The gut-punching drumming of Bundrick drove Betts’ and Garcia’s power chords with authority, while maintaining an airtight rhythm with bassist Jeremy Lenzo.

Mayday Parade ended the evening with a passionate performance of their seminal pop-punk hymn, “Jersey,” which was carefully recited by the several hundred disciples of the band: “Let’s write a song that we can sing to!”

The band left the stage to rounds of applause and screaming fans who had been treated to an evening of nostalgia, a superbly executed lightshow, and exuberant performances from all three artists.