Earlier in the year, New York’s punk rockers Bayside announce they will be heading out on a very special 10 year anniversary tour to celebrate their momentous record, The Walking Wounded. Although their debut album, Sirens and Condolences was released in 2004, they felt 2007 was an important period as a band, especially after the tragic accident that saw the loss of their drummer John “Beatz” Holohan. The Walking Wounded, released in February 2007, was the first album recorded with the bands line up today. Back in August this year, Bayside released a heartfelt video, opening up about the record and their ordeals and explain why this was the right time to do this anniversary tour. If you haven’t seen it yet, go check it out over on their website www.baysidebayside.com
After a run of the US back in September, a handful of UK dates finish off this celebratory tour. Tonight’s show at The Garage, London, is first up. This cosy venue was a perfect choice, big enough to welcome the amount of fans here to support the band, but small enough to give it an intimate and special feel. But Bayside have not come alone, they are joined by San Francisco’s alternative rockers, I the Mighty. Formed in 2007, these guys also have 10 years to celebrate. These guys were just over here in the summer with their first UK headline show at a sold out Barfly in London. They also had a spot on this years Download Festival where they rocked the Dogtooth stage.
Dipping into all four studio albums, I the Mighty’s set list is packed with big tracks. Opening with “Where the Mind Wants to Go,” from their latest album Where the Mind wants to go / Where You Let it go they jump straight in and the energy beams around the room. Continuing with the new album, up next is “Silver Tongues.” I love the intro this song, the mixture of sounds as it escalates up where the vocals and bass come in. Brent Walsh’s vocals are soft and inviting. Bass player Chris Hinkley‘s energy is contagious as he interacts and encourages the crowd to sing along. Taking it back to their 2015 album Connector they throw out “Psychomachia.” This song has a heavier feel and the crowd are loving it.
The band finally introduce themselves as I the Mighty and they thank everyone for turning up early to check them out. New track “Pet Names” is up next, this is my favourite on the album. It’s packed full of dreamy atmosphere moments and the chorus is big, Brent really opens his lungs for this one. Taking back to Connector again, they have the crowd snapping their fingers as they introduce “The Lying Eyes of Miss Erray.” I’m now at the back of the crowd and can see pockets of fans dotted around the room, singing and jumping along. There’s a part in the song where the band went silent to let the crowd song the lyrics before throwing themselves back in, it was a great moment and had smiling faces filling the room.
Taking a brief moment to catch their breath, they announce that after this tour they will be heading out to Ukraine to film the video for the next track, “Chaos In Motion.” Popular with the crowd, this song gets more bodies moving. They then throw out a couple of old ones, “The Streets Are Alive” and “Speak to Me” before ending their set with an explosion of sounds as they finish up with “The Dreamer.” This was a powerful set and I enjoyed the atmosphere of the room.
In spring 2018, I the Mighty will be heading out as main support for Our Last Night’s North America tour. Make sure you go check out one of the shows, you won’t be disappointed with this lot!
Bayside are up next! This is actually my first time seeing Bayside live tonight, it feels kind of special that I will be experiencing this anniversary tour as my first show. Bouncing on stage, they jump right in with “The Walking Wounded.” With it being The Walking Wounded anniversary tour, it would be rude not to play all the tracks from The Walking Wounded, right? Well that’s just what they did. Every track, just as they appear on the album. So of course, up next is “They’re Not Horses, They’re Unicorns.” The room is now busy and there’s an echo is the room as the crowd sing along at the top of their lungs. Up next they play “Duality” before taking a brief break to introduce themselves. Continuing on with the album track list, they then dive into “Carry On”. I love vocalist Anthony Raneri’s voice, this is really throwing me back to my emo punk rock days of listening to Alkaline Trio and Green Day. It’s a comforting, kind of nostalgic feeling for me and judging by the atmosphere in the room, the crowd are enjoying this nostalgic night also.
Anthony goes on to talk about the last time Bayside played in the UK, he asks if it’s been 2,3 or 4 years? It was actually in May 2015 for Slamdunk Festival, which I did attend but unfortunately missed their set. Up next, they go on to play “I and I,” “Choice Hops and Bottled Self Esteem,” “Head on a Plate” and “Dear Your Holiness.” With the crowds energy and laughter illuminating the room tonight, their return to the UK is greatly welcomed. There’s people singing and dancing with their friends, they are completely absorbed in the music and the vibe is contagious.
For this next one, Anthony leaves guitarist Jack O’Shea to take the reins while he grabs the mic to sing out to the crowd. He dedicates this song, “Landing Feet First,” to all the lovers and non lovers in the room. But the crowd don’t let Anthony sing this one alone, the reverberation of voices is powerful as the whole room serenades right back. Anthony take back his guitar and announces that “Thankfully” is up next. He goes on to explain that this song was actually written and first played live here in the UK 10 years ago, the crowd responds with a mighty cheer. They then continue on with “A Rite of Passage” and “(Pop)ular Science.”
So that’s it for The Walking Wounded, but there’s still more to come. The band now take the opportunity to say a few words about this anniversary tour and what it means after the loss of their band mate, John. The supporting cheers from the crowd lights up the stage and you can’t help but feel the warming emotion in the air. Continuing on with the show and still throwing it back, we hear old tracks “Blame It on Bad Luck,” “A Call to Arms” and Montauk” from albums Bayside and Shudder. Apparently tonight’s show is the biggest UK headline show for Bayside, which is quite surprising in their 13+ years as a band. But this is another reason to make this night feel even more special. We now hear a more recent track, “Mary,” from their latest album Vacancy. The catchy riffs leading up to the big chorus gets the room swinging, there’s not a still body in the room. Taking it back once again, we then here “Sick, Sick, Sick” before ending this epic set with “Devotion and Desire.”
Not only has this been a great night for the band, the smiles beaming from faces as fans make their way to the exits just shows what an incredible night this has been for everyone. I hope Bayside don’t leave it too long again to return to the UK. Thanks guys!