On Saturday night, Long Island punk mainstays Bayside took the stage at Starland Ballroom on the final night of their 15th Birthday Tour. Longtime fans like myself were treated to a career encompassing set that certainly sent everybody home happy.
I arrived in time to catch the second half of New Jersey act Man Overboard’s set, and the crowd was very into it, singing every lyric back towards frontman Zac Eisenstein.
You could feel the anticipation building as the other New Jersey outfit Senses Fail began to setup on stage. The band wasted no time launching into “You’re Cute When You Scream” off of their debut album Let It Unfold You. Frontman Buddy Nielson was like a man possessed throughout the set, proclaiming at one point that he was having the most fun he’s had the entire tour. Whether he was jumping in the crowd or swimming on stage, I certainly believed him.
Being a drummer, I was entranced by touring drummer Chris Hornbrook, who is also a founding member of recently resurrected hardcore outfit Poison The Well. Although it may have gone over the heads of the younger pop punk kids in attendance, the band broke out into a cover of Hatebreed’s “Empty Promises” towards the end of the set.
Overall, Senses Fail played a well rounded 10 song set spanning their 5 albums, concluding with “Bite To Break A Sin”, which sent the pit into a frenzy.
As the familiar projection screen dropped in front of the stage and began advertising upcoming shows, I noticed the back line being setup with four speaker cabinets that each adorned their own letter, spelling CULT. And Bayside’s following certainly is that, sticking with the band through thick and thin over the past 15 years.
The band’s newest LP, Cult, was named in honor of the fans, and was recently re-released with 4 new tracks. Bayside launched into “Pigsty”, which is the lead single from the aforementioned album. The crowd spent most of the night singing every word at the top of their lungs, and the rooms energy stayed at an all time high.
It was very cool to see the crowd’s enthusiasm remain consistent regardless of whether an old or new song was played. This is a testament to Bayside as songwriters, as they have an ability to crank out catchy and memorable albums without becoming monotonous.
Set staples like “Duality”, “Montauk”, “Blame It On Bad Luck”, and “The Walking Wounded” were played as well as I’ve ever heard them performed live. The appreciative look on the faces of frontman Anthony Raneri and his bandmates was a highlight of the night, while the Jersey crowd serenaded the band with the Happy Birthday song.
The encore switched things up, as an acoustic guitar clad Raneri appeared amongst the crowd, illuminated by a single spotlight. Launching into “Don’t Call Me Peanut”, the capacity crowd recited every word, often times overpowering Raneri’s vocal. The encore was capped by Cult’s opening track “Big Cheese”, and the trademark show closer “Devotion and Desire”.
The crowd released whatever energy they had left, and many left with blown out voices. I’m happy to see that while 15 years into a fantastic career, Bayside continues to improve with every performance I bear witness to.
Here’s to another 15 years.