Bayside: Live in Cleveland
By Nick Carrabine
Never has a Bayside show been so energized.
Sunday night was my fifth time seeing the band in the past two and a half years, and while their studio albums are always punched with fast paced, high energy hooks and riffs it never seemed to translate to their live shows for some reason unbeknownst to me.
Not saying they are a bad live band, because actually they are always very good live as far as actually being on key and sounding good. But their crowds always seem to be more subdued.
Sunday was not the case at the Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights.
Maybe it was the more intimate, smaller venue that did the trick, but the place was going crazy to the point where you could feel the building shaking, literally.
If anyone has ever been to the Grog Shop, they know the “stage” and microphones are only separated from the crowd by maybe a maximum of 3 feet. The roof is not much taller than the tallest person there. It’s almost like being in a big basement. Multiple times the crowd was pushed so far into the stage that lead singer Anthony Raneri’s microphone was either pushed into him, to the ground or at one point, even taken from him by a fan.
The New York band played only about a 65 to 70 minute set, which is par for the course for them. They didn’t play any new songs, because they don’t have any.
Their last album was released two years ago and they were just doing a few small club shows to “get out of the studio for a while,” said Raneri, adding that a new album should be released early next year.
As I said, this was the fifth time I’ve seen the band, and my only complaint is they almost always have the same setlist. “Devotion and Desire” has been their closer every single time I’ve seen them. Normally when a band goes on tour with no new material and play in a place similar to the Grog Shop, the band will tend to play more rarities or longer sets or even take requests. That was not the case with Bayside.
However, the place was so energized and the band seemed more interested than ever letting the crowd get more involved that it easily makes this show my favorite time ever seeing the band.
They ripped through songs from all their albums including Sirens and Condolences (“Masterpiece”), Self-Titled (“Hello Sh**y,” “Devotion and Desire,” “Tortures of the Damned,” “Blame it on Bad Luck,” “Montauk,” “They Looked Like Strong Hands,” “Existing in a Crisis”), The Walking Wounded (“The Walking Wounded,” “They’re Not Horses, They’re Unicorns,” “Duality,” “Carry On,” “I & I,” “Landing Feet First”) and Shudder (“Boy,” “The Ghost of St. Valentine,” “No One Understands,” “Roshambo”)
The opener was Hawthorne Heights who had a solid set as well although I don’t think most of the crowd noticed they were even in the building until their last two songs “Ohio is for Lovers,” (in which lead singer JT Woodruff dedicated to none other than LeBron James) and “Nikki FM,” both of which were off their first album The Silence in Black and White.