A Day In The Life: Morning Parade (Chicago, IL)
December 1st, 2012
Photos & Words by Ashley Osborn
Upon my arrival to JBTV studios to meet up with Morning Parade to do this feature, which they were kind enough to let us do, I was clueless. All that I had known about the band was that they were from overseas and they had been touring around the US quite a bit – they were also just featured in our magazine. I guess that’s a pretty important factor to this, yes? Overall, I thought it would be interesting to shadow a band that’s from overseas. Something new and fresh for the magazine. I had no idea what I was in store for…
On this day, Morning Parade would be playing at JBTV for the second time. Immediately following their performance, they would be heading to Aragon Ballroom to play Q87.7 Chicago‘s Night We Stole X-Mas. However, before I get too far into this I think I should introduce you to the band. Morning Parade is composed of Steve Sparrow (lead vocals, piano and guitar), Phil Titus (bass), Chad Thomas (guitar), Ben Giddings (piano/synths) and Andrew Hayes (drums). So now that you know the band, let us begin the overview of December 1st, 2012: A Day In The Life of Morning Parade.
Location #1: JBTV
The Overview: I used to work at JBTV. If you aren’t familiar with it, it’s a television show that’s now broadcasted nationally here in the States on NBC Non-stop. Jerry has been at this for over 30 years and has given thousands of artists exposure. The show is absolutely amazing, the staff is amazing and Jerry is, in my opinion, one of the greatest people I’ve ever met. You’ve got to check it out.
When I finally met the guys of Morning Parade to give them the details of the day they were all laughs. Some of the most open people I’ve come across in a long time. Jokes literally non-stop (along with laughter and sarcasm). I immediately knew this day was going to be quite interesting.
As the guys wrapped up their interview with Jerry, the studio began to let fans in for Morning Parade’s performance. JBTV keeps performances very intimate (which is the best thing about the studio). There was about 50 people their with huge smiles on their faces and limbs full of giddiness! The second the band was announced the room erupted in applause and the band entered into a comfortable vibe.
Location #2: JBTV’s Alley
The Overview: It was time to put the puzzle that is the band’s equipment fitting into the van… back together. Laughs filled the air as the band joked around whilst doing so. I found this interesting because the entire alley smelled awful due to garbage (oy!).
Location #3: Van
The Overview: Before commencing operation ‘GET TO VENUE ON TIME’ the band kept warning me about their disgusting van and living space (which was not even disgusting). When we were finally on the road they immediately began joking around. First, I began to hear some strange… breathing. To my, no, well I wasn’t even surprised… Chad has gotten ahold of a balloon and begins inhaling it only to start talking in an preppy American accent.
Next, the guys decide it’s time to start playing with the brand new iPad they received from JBTV. They were very excited to get one because theirs had just been broken by, I completely forgot which member did it. But – they mentioned that they were bummed because they were using it to write their next album.
Now, this next image is my favorite of the day. Not only that, it was the first serious moment of the day. Steve pulled all of these cards out of his bag and began to really tell me about about their story. The band arrived in America from the UK in August. They were set to leave in October however they received more touring and show opportunities and never left. Each of these cards represents a different hotel they’ve stayed at since their arrival. Though they are INCREDIBLY grateful for their opportunities it was quite clear they missed home a lot (which is an understatement). Can you imagine what that would be like? The good news: they get to go home in a few days! They also commented on the fact that they had just had some time off and felt refreshed.
Location #4: Aragon Ballroom
The Overview: Once we arrived the band went inside. I went around to the alley to snap some photos of load in. It was neat because Aragon’s stage is a few stories up so they use machines to lift equipment up. I found this incredibly entertaining for whatever reason. Next, I went inside the Aragon to explore and snap some photos of the venue. The Aragon Ballroom is the most beautiful place I’ve ever had the pleasure of finding myself at. Here’s a photo of the venue from the second floor balcony near the green rooms. The band’s tour manager and tech are picured in the bottom left to give you an idea of how huge this place is.
I found the guys a while later tucked away in the green room. They were skyping loved ones, listening to music and relaxing. The atmosphere was very calm and they were very silent.
A bit later I began hearing the phrase: “I AM SO BORED.” These are the events that followed:
1) Face time with Phil.
2) “Does this look candid” with Chad:
3) Play time with Chad:
4) Line dancing with Steve:
5) Line dancing with Steve and Chad: Part 1 (this happened several times during the course of the day – they could certainly start a group of their own)
6) Running around onstage: Featuring Steve…
7) Running around on stage: Featuring Ben and Steve…
Up next, everybody went to catering and the guys socialized with some of their friends they’ve met along the road the past few months. It was clear that it has become easy for them to make every venue feel like a temporary home of sorts. The rest of the day was spent exploring the venue, more relaxing, some naps and more joking around. The band was very polite to every member of Q87.7’s & the venue’s staff and the new bands they were just meeting. They enjoyed Youngblood Hawke and Atlas Genus’ set until it was time for them to do an meet and greet and signing. They were very excited to meet some fans regardless of how noisy the venue was!
Immediately after the signing it was time for the band to get ready to play in front of the sold out show. 6,000 people were right below them awaiting their performance. As the band headed downstairs, they either did an amazing job of hiding their nerves or they were not nervous whatsoever. As soon as they hit stage level they dispersed and each member began setting up their own equipment while at the same time joking and laughing at each other across the stage. These guys didn’t wipe smiles off their faces the entire day, which only enables me to assume that’s typical.
When Ben was finished setting up his keys/equipment, he relaxed side stage with a beer to calm his nerves.
After he was done, Steve went to go do his pre-show warm ups. He was incredibly excited for the show!
The entire time I was wondering.. how is it not difficult to do all of this in front of 6,000 people? Until the Q87.7 people came onstage and began throwing t-shirts and such into the crowd. What a cool station! Here’s a shot of Chad arranging and doing all kinds of musician things that I’ll never understand.
Here are the “ghosts” of Morning Parade. They got ready and did their pre-show huddle/hugs behind the curtain in the actual PITCH BLACK. I refuse to use flash when I shoot (just not my style) so this is what happened. Ghosts.
At the same time the guys were doing this here’s what was waiting for them…
They stepped foot onto the stage again. However, this time was different. They were about to play in front of 6,000 people and the anticipation level drove through the roof. SHOWTIME!
Their glistening performance consisted of songs off of their phenomenal self-titled album (which was released earlier this year). It was full of energy to say the least. Being my first time seeing the band live, saying I was impressed is an understatement. Using a combination of their eclectic sound mixed with their wit, the band delivered a full power rock block.
Whilst exiting the stage level all five of the members were giddy. They took the time to throw memorabilia out to fans & yell back and fourth to admirers alike. Immediately after, the members began up the stair case to the green room. I heard, “That was the best show we’ve possibly ever played,” and smiled. It was clear that the band felt satisfied with their performance and being so far away from home I can only imagine that this is what truly keeps them going.
Highlight is a magazine that was founded on the idea that genuine artists still can exist in this industry despite all of the drama we hear about on the internet. It’s a magazine that’s based on uniting diverse bands instead of separating them by genre. After getting to shadow Morning Parade it’s clear to me that the decision to do so was perfect for the magazine. Their alternative sound, wit, positive thoughts and non-existant negativity was delightful to experience for a day – not to mention refreshing. This group of guys are incredibly hard working and they certainly deserve the respect of the masses. I only see huge things for them in the future. So cheers to you, Morning Parade! May you have an amazing 2013. Special thanks for letting Highlight into your day.
Be sure to check out Morning Parade here. You can even search them on spotify right now – but I promise the album is worth the purchase! Listen to “Us & Ourselves,” “Headlights” and “Monday Morning.”