You know it is going to be a great show when the first opening act on the bill kills it from the moment they come to stage. Milestones did exactly this, making the most of their 7 p.m. set at Mavericks. Evening light bounced off the riverfront and glowed through the venue’s skylights as this long-haired British five piece came to stage with an immediate energy and fun attitude. They delivered like headliners, bringing a unique set to Mayday Parade’s Jacksonville stop of their A Lesson in Romantics 10-year anniversary tour.
Frontman Matthew John Clarke has a whiny but appealing voice, the kind Fearless Records seems to love. When he breaks into outward growls or pulled-back moments of reflection, it is noticeable, different, and a little swoon-worthy. Joined by quick, punk inspired instrumentation the overall feel is good, with a Warped Tour punk-pop edge.
Milestones’ lyrics are less emo than Mayday Parade’s. They deliver a motivated punk rock message, enhanced by catchy synchronized backup vocals. They use deep static and intentional feedback to bring a slow build and distortion to tracks that are still upbeat and pop inspired. Energy spread through the crowd as the lead singer came into the photo pit and audience.
The past few months brought them on their first U.S. tour, but they clearly pleased the crowd. They fit the bill well: Similar to Mayday Parade but without the sometimes downtrodden emotion that can bring a crowd down early in the night. The group repeatedly thanked the crowd during their short set. After the set, they offered to meet fans. They still sell their own shirts and look for couches to sleep on while on tour.
One of the best parts of their set was a genuine and intense performance of “Shot in the Dark,” off their 2016 debut record Equal Measures. The track is slow and real in the verse with an intense chorus. The grit in Clarke’s is voice is well used on soft but powerful tracks like this and it is even more genuine live.
These guys are young and clearly appealing to young girls and hardcore kids alike. “Call Me Disaster” translates fantastically into a live sing-a-long. Milestone’s passionate riffs and honest hooks were at their best as they performed this track. They were hyped for the other bands. Clarke implored the crowd to jump for their last song and get as sweaty as he was. He shouted into the mic “I DON’T CARE HOW COOL YOU THINK YOU ARE – WE ARE ALL HERE FOR THE SAME REASON – TO FUCKIN HAVE SOME FUN.”
This summer, Milestones will continue to bring this movement and excitement on tour as they hit Europe through July. One thing is for sure though: Milestones will be back in the U.S. soon. They made a tremendous impression opening for Mayday Parade and it will be a pleasure to watch their progression. I predict that they too will become major headliners, playing their own sold out anniversary shows ten years down the line.