Pop punk bands State Champs, Mayday Parade and a pair of Bay Area openers took a brief detour from their Sad Summer Festival to play the iconic UC Theatre Taube Family Music Hall in Berkeley on Friday night.
Inside the standing-room theatre, a wall-to-wall poster behind the stage read ‘Mayday Parade is an emotion,’ and the crystal-like chandeliers switched lights in pattern.
Bay Area-based and pop punk band Just Friends hit the stage at 6:30 p.m.
“Yay Area!” said Just Friends vocalist Sam Kless. “It’s good to be back home.”
Frontwoman and vocalist Brianda Goyos León and Kless led this nine-member band filled with quick drums and bass, ska and punk mixed guitar riffs and some refreshing trombone action.
Kless cartwheeled across stage like Chris Farley’s legendary Letterman entrance. Fitting that this Bay Area band set the mood for the rest of the night.
Vocalist and guitarist for Mom Jeans. Eric Butler, with his band ready to play, said:
“We want to dedicate this whole set to our parents who are here tonight.”
From Berkeley, punk band Mom Jeans. followed an energetic Just Friends performance with an equally headbanging act, but with chuggier instruments and vocals.
Both Just Friends and Mom Jeans. expressed online how excited they were to play their hometown:
Warped Tour staples and Tallahassee, Fla. natives Mayday Parade took the stage to a dimly lit theatre and screams that hit the highest decibels in existence.
“Three Cheers For Five Years,” “Jamie All Over,” “Miserable At Best,” and “Piece Of Your Heart” are only a couple of songs on their setlist that spans 13 years of classic pop punk tunes.
Having played The UC Theatre just last October for their Welcome To Sunnyland Tour in North America, Mayday Parade felt right at home giving it their all.
Audio problems like an overly loud guitar drowning out frontman Derek Sander’s smooth voice and beckoning lyrics didn’t stop the audience from crowd-surfing and singing along.
Still, every member of Mayday Parade shined and looked like they have been there before; professional and entertaining.
State Champs entered last and thanked all the bands, giving that same spiel that every band does. Granted, it’s all mutual and genuine.
Fans came for the rock. And yeah, we got it.
State Champs start the end of a hot and sunny Berkeley night with the leading ditty on their latest album Living Proof, “Criminal.”
They accompanied the rest of the set with their modern pop punk hits “Shape Up,” “Elevated,” “Secrets,” “Lightning,” and more.
As they were finishing up, State Champs frontman Derek Discanio’s belted out that after their Sad Summer Tour, they would book it to the studios and work on a new album.
Pop punk is changing, as does life.
But even if some people think it’s getting softer, the live shows prove that mosh pits, crowd surfing, and head banging will keep pop punk’s intensity and heart will never die, especially if the Bay Area continues to pump out face-melting rockers.