Gig Review

Mayday Parade
The Summer Set, For The Foxes, Natives
Cardiff, Great Hall 2
13th October 2012

Mayday Parade      The Summer Set        For The Foxes                Natives 

Photo Of Natives © Copyright Karen CatchpoleWith the show being upgraded from Cardiff Solus SU to Cardiff Great Hall 2 due to the number of tickets sold you know it was going to be good before you even looked at the line up.

Natives formed earlier in the year from Not Advised, with a new name, new songs, and a different sound. With only two songs out and many of their fans carrying over from Not Advised, myself included it would be interesting to see how people reacted to the show. Jim Thomas's bellow at the begging of the bands first single Big Plans engulfed the room, and got everyone's attention. There was a big cheer from the crowd at the end of the track and Jim quickly showed his talents as a front man getting everyone to clap along to the next track. As they played though some unreleased material to an mesmerised room, there was no need to Photo Of Natives © Copyright Karen Catchpolewonder why I haven't managed to leave any of their gig's without buying an ep or a shirt, and this time was no exception The confidante and ease of every member on stage is reflective of the years they've spent playing together in Not Advised. With a polished sound, fractionally heavier than the released versions, with Greg's bass high enough to hear but not so high as to be reduced to vibrations and flawless guitar work. Two things about this set suppressed me, not the quality of the performance, or their ability to win over a crowd but the fact they were the opening act, and that I'd never picked up on how good of a drummer and backing vocalist Andy White is. This Island was the second to last song of the set, with a few people singing along, before bouncing around to the last track. It's the third time I've seen these boys perform and they've always impressed me, and those that I spoke to who hadn't heard them before seemed to share the opinion. At some point Jim gave something to a member of the crowd that looked like they were having the most fun, though to be honest I was too busy enjoying the songs to tear myself away and had to frantically scribble down notes in-between. They put on phenomenal performance with some great group vocals, harmonies and fantastic songs all tied off by James Fairbrother and Ash Oliver bouncing around the stage while they played. The mic was slightly to low sadly which took something away from the Natives big choruses but the face that they were this good and not at their best really says something. I've only seen one band as polished and impressive as them open this year and that was Verses on NASS festivals main stage. Can't wait for a full length, or there December tour. I've literally been listening to "This Island" on repeat.

For The Foxes had the tough job of following Natives, on their first UK tour, and playing to a crowd many of whom hadn't heard of them before. They kicked off the set with "Moonlight Ride" mixing a slower verse with a bouncy upbeat chorus. Nicholas Francis's voice was Photo Of For The Foxes © Copyright Karen Catchpoleslightly higher than I was expecting but quite similar to the CD, after being slightly drowned out during heavier parts of the chorus the problem was soon rectified for later songs. They didn't get a bad reaction from the crowd, which they would win over throughout the set. They worked though their debut album "The Revolution" playing the slightly grittier "Sinking Like A Stone", with some crowd participation. With some breakup in his voice and some sweet bass fill's courtesy of Jonathan Brunner For The Foxes set was in full swing. "Kids Too Young" followed, before Nicholas was left on the stage to perform "The River" and show his skills on the keyboard. The heart welling song seeming like a blend between The Rembrandts "I'll Be There For You" and The Smashing Pumpkins "Disarm". "The River" got a big and well disserved applause from the crowd who were fully fixed on the stage as the rest of the band returned for "Easy Way" and "The Revolution" driven by Danny Vassallo's drumming. For The Foxes bounced around the stage throughout their chilled out pop/indie set with the a few meatier rocky guitar riffs thrown in by Jimmy Brindley and Mikey Ballou from time to time. They played a great set, getting the crowd interaction right, avoiding the pitfall of pressing an uninterested or almost as bad not engaging with them at all. They have proved to be another one of Hopeless Records gem's that was a stand out for me and quite a few people I talked to after the show. I feel sorry for those that missed them at the Waterfront in Norwich and I hope there back in the UK soon. I'd go to any show with them and Natives opening.

Photo Of The Summerset © Copyright Karen CatchpoleThe Summer Set opened up with "Chelsea" which sums up there pop punk up beat bouncy style perfectly. Whilst it's hard to make out what Brian Dales is singing sometimes, something I mentioned when I reviewed them in April, and his voice is a bit high pitched he's not too bad of a lead singer. Somewhat overshadowed by Jim's powerful voice as well as that of Nicholas probably serving to highlight his downfall's. Having caught them only a few months before at Cardiff Uni once again, I won't delve into a lengthy review. They played through "Must Be The Music", "Punch-Drunk Love", "When We Were Young" and the bands up and coming single "Fuck U Over" as well as in April. Whilst I'm not their biggest fan, they always seem to go down well with people jumping round, dancing, singing along and hands in the air. There up beat style is quite similar to that of We Are The In Crowd, and a good way to get the crowd jumping around. If you were going out to a pop punk night they would be a great thing to listen to before you go out, and if you're a fan of them on CD they're not going to let you down but they're yet to wow me. They played though the soft acoustic "About A Girl" which went down well before picking up the pace again with "This is How We Live", "Someone Like You" and finally tying the set off with "The Boys You Do (Get Back At You)". Jess Bowen's heavy hitting drum style is still my favourite thing about them and they put on a pretty good show, but not quit up there with the two openers.

Photo Of Mayday Parade © Copyright Karen CatchpoleFlorida Alternative Rocker's Mayday Parade started with the "Oh Well, Of Well" the opening track of their self titled 3rd studio album. Starting with a soft violin intro before kicking in with an explosion of energy on and off stage when Alex Garcia and Brooks Betts guitar's join the party. Only a few lines in the crowd were singing along, line by line, and many didn't stop for the entirety of the set. "Jersey" from the band's debut studio album "A Lesson In Romantics" followed. For the third time tonight a top class vocalist and front man was on stage, throwing the mic around like Taking Back Sundays Adam Lazzara but with a much better voice. Two songs in and Derek Sanders was using the mic like a skipping rope. With a venue like Cardiff Great Hall 2, no one expects much from the lights, there were a few that changed colour and some smoke later on but not much, so it fall to the band to be entertaining. Something that comes naturally to Mayday Parade, with everyone on stage jumping around standing on the speakers at the front or throwing there guitar back to their shoulders before bringing it down like an axe. The solo during "No Hero's Allowed" was absolutely flawless and took the set up a notch. They Photo Of Mayday Parade © Copyright Karen Catchpoleplayed "Three Cheers For Five Years" and "Priceless" before joining in with the softer acoustic style section with " You Be the Anchor That Keeps My Feet on the Ground, I'll Be the Wings That Keep Your Heart in the Clouds". After "Anywhere but here" Derek was left alone on stage with a keyboard to perform a gut wrenching version of "Miserable At Best" with a few lighters in the air. Everyone was singing along in what felt like a real group moment, carried on during "Stay" which saw the rest of the band return to the stage part way though. They picked the pace up again with "When I get Home, You're So dead" with everyone playing on the speakers at the front once again. They left the stage after "Jamie All Over” with Jake Bundrick pounding away at the drums up until the end of the song. The Encore "I'd Hate To Be You When People Find Out What This Song Is About" gave the crowd one last time to sing their hearts out after a great show, with some incredible softer moments. I've seen Mayday Parade three times this year and they get better and better every time, It's no wonder this show got upgraded from Solus SU. Strong vocals, cracking guitar riff, and emotional lyrics sum up a Mayday CD pretty well, but their CD's don't do justice to their live shows, you can't get that kind of energy and presence on a recording.

Natives 4/5
For The Foxes 4/5
The Summer set 3/5
Mayday Parade 4/5

Review By Marc Rich
Photos By Karen Catchpole

 Mayday Parade

Derek Sanders
Jeremy Lenzo
Alex Garcia
Brooks Betts
Jake Bundrick

 The Summer Set

Brian Dales
John Gomez
Josh Montgomery
Jess Bowen
Stephen Gomez

 For The Foxes

Nicholas Francis
Jimmy Brindley
Danny Vassallo
Mikey Ballou
Jonathan Brunner


Greg Day
Jack Fairbrother
Ash Oliver
James Thomas
Andy White

 Band Related Links
Mayday Parade Facebook
The Summer Set Facebook
For The Foxes Facebook
Natives Facebook
 Review Score Code
- Top Cheese
- Brilliant
- Pretty damn good
- Ok I guess
- What Was That?