The Wonder Years and Mayday Parade at the O2 Academy Leeds, 20.02.19

Bringing their co-headline tour to the O2 Academy Leeds on the 20th of February, Mayday Parade and The Wonder Years served up a night of melancholic singalongs to an adoring crowd of skinny-jean-clad pop-punkers.  

First up on the bill after doors, were New York’s pronoun, who kicked-off proceedings as crowds were still slowly beginning to gather.  As the full-band vehicle for songwriter Alyse Vellturo’s indie guitar-pop, the band impressed, showcasing a very polished sound during their first outing in the UK.  Whilst deserving of larger crowds, the sparsely populated O2 Academy dance floor acted as a sort of appropriate setting for pronoun’s indie-pop ballads. The band closed a short yet successful set with “stay” – their latest single, reminiscent of very early Bloc Party with a sort of 80’s pop twist.

Up next, notching up the pop-punk-o-meter a good few measures, were Movements from Southern California.  Their set, comprised almost entirely of tracks from 2017 debut “Feel Something”, was met with crowd-surfing from an enthusiastic pocket of loyal fans.  At times during their set, I found the band to be a tad cringe-worthy (mostly during the short ventures into spoken-word), though I must praise them on their ability to recreate the dynamic sound of their records in a live setting – with just four band-members.

The first of the two headline acts, were six-piece man-band The Wonder Years – who brought energy and heart by the shed-load.  Delving into material from their last four studio albums, the 14 song set was packed beginning to end with stand-out moments. A personal highlight, was seeing the band close with 2011’s “Came Out Swinging”, which was not only met with the loudest singalong of the night from the Yorkshire crowd, but also a pretty frightening number of crowd-surfers, which left venue security scrambling throughout the song.

With Mayday Parade due on stage any minute, the excitement was building in the O2 as a number of pop-punk and emo anthems rang around the venue in anticipation.  The pop-rockers took stage with boundless energy, which to their credit, didn’t let up at any point during the lengthy set. Backed by a pretty impressive production, the band seemed to feed off the enthusiasm of the young crowd – who at this point in the evening, were displaying their own stamina (which I suspect was largely energy-drink-fuelled).  Boasting longer hair and whinier voices than those who had proceeded them, the band rounded off a long night at the O2 in style. Their pop-punk rendition of Gotye’s one-hit-wonder “Somebody That I Used To Know” stands out as a confusing, yet all the while memorable highlight.

Photo via Mayday Parade