Black Lines – Mayday Parade Review

For the past ten years, Tallahassee-natives Mayday Parade have been pumping catchy, emotional pop-punk into the alternative music scene. Through hits such as “Three Cheers for Five Years” and “Miserable at Best”, Derek Sanders and company have poured their hearts out into emotional lyrics and soaring melodic lines that evoke sadness and exasperation from their audiences, taking the listener by the hand and letting them know, “you are not alone.”

 

With their new full length album, Black Lines, Mayday Parade has taken that same message, but has attacked it from a different angle. This time around, they are a little more angry and aggressive, instead of sad and desperate. Starting with the first track, “One of Them Will Destroy the Other,” Mayday Parade delivers high tension vocals and guitars, with pounding drums that only let up for the occasional ballad. Producer Mike Sapone (who also produced albums by Taking Bach Sunday, Brand New, etc.) used his experience with other alternative/emo bands to help them achieve the grittier, edgier sound that the band was striving towards on this album.

 

From the first track to the last, this album is both a departure and a return for Mayday Parade. They isolated themselves from the rest of the world, including their friends, family, and label executives, and found an aggressive, emotional, and honest sound that they have been searching for since their debut.

 

For more on Mayday Parade, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and tune in to

88.3 WDCV.

 

 

Author Jonathan Northridge is an avid defender of pop/punk, plays guitar in an Irish folk band, and can beat anybody at Guitar Hero. Check out his show, Head Above Water, on 88.3 WDCV.

Bluegrass on the Grass 2015 Review

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On the first clear day in weeks, Dickinson College was the site of the 20th Anniversary of Davis Tracy’s Bluegrass on the Grass festival. I had heard the school hosts this little secret from some friends of mine, so when the opportunity arose for me to work the festival, I jumped at the chance. As someone who has never particularly cared for bluegrass, I wasn’t really sure what I was getting into…but after sitting through eight hours of non-stop bluegrass I will say this: Why have I never been there before?

 

First of all, the atmosphere throughout the day can be summed up in one word: happy. Everywhere I went, smiles were on everyone faces. Whether they had been there every year since the first festival in 1995, or were attending the festival for their first time, everyone in the over 3,000 strong crowd was excited and genuinely happy to be there. People had come from all over the country to this small town in PA; I met folks from Tennessee, Texas, Georgia, Florida, and so on. One woman from Florida told me, “I made my sister come with me this year. She tried telling me that she didn’t like bluegrass music, but I told her that this was better than Christmas!”

 

Five bands took the stage this year, each of them playing two sets by the end of the day. The Dismembered Tennesseans were up first, and as they have played every Bluegrass on the Grass festival except for the first one, the audience was fully prepared for their unflinching yet refined take on bluegrass music. After them came a newcomer to the festival, Tellico, from Ashevillle, NC. What struck me about this band was their commitment to the art of the song; they did not riff or improvise a lot, but instead stuck to their songs of passion and heartache. After Tellico was Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper. Fronted by award winning fiddler Michael Cleveland, these guys delivered the most virtuosic performance of the day. They ran through their songs while weaving back and forth through melodies and improvisations with impressive ease. While they were a tough act to follow, Jake Krack & the Bing Brothers did not show up to disappoint anybody. I am a fan of punk rock myself, so fiddler Jack Krack and his band were my favorite act of the day because they never let up on the intensity of their driving, in-your-face brand of bluegrass. Closing out the festival this year was another newcomer to Bluegrass on the Grass, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out. Led by award winning vocalist Russell Moore, this band brought the audience to a standing ovation with their gospel-influenced bluegrass. I have no doubt that they will be asked to come back in the near future.

 

If you want to check out next year’s festival, stop by Dickinson College’s campus on July 9th, 2016. And if you want to hear some more bluegrass before that, check out WDCV on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, or Saturday from 8-10 AM, either on 88.3 FM or at http://blogs.dickinson.edu/wdcvfm/

 

* Thank you to everyone who helped make the festival possible. Through your hard work and generous donations, Bluegrass on the Grass has been able remain free to the public, and will be back again next year.*