Maxwell’s in Hoboken, NJ, is one of my favorite venues in the area. Host to many great shows over the years, the venue is best known for its intimate atmosphere–the musicians and performers have to walk through the crowd to get to the stage. Drinks flow easily from the bars, and there are no bouncers or rails to guard the stage.
Formed in the wake of Michelle DaRosa’s departure from Straylight Run, Destry–playing a blend of folk and rock–opened the evening. After collaborating with (and being overshadowed by) her brother John Nolan for years, DaRosa finally got the chance to show her own abilities. Joined by hometown friends from Cassino and Straylight Run (drummer Nico Childrey, guitarist Tyler Odom, and bassist Shaun Cooper), the band’s first show was incredibly promising. Destry mixed a few covers into their brief set (Sam Cooke’s “Chain Gang” and The Everly Brothers’s “All I Have to Do is Dream”), dually showcasing their influences and tight harmonies.
Vinnie Caruana played next. Mixing up covers of both his bands (I Am the Avalanche and the now-defunct The Movielife), Caruana sounded like a wounded punk veteran of the scene. At only thirty, he came off much older–wiser, even. The crowd sang along to some of his back catalog’s staples, such as Forty Hour Train Back To Penn‘s “Hey”. “I Took a Beating” took on its original acoustic form (found on a split with The Early November), and a number of other songs from I Am the Avalanche’s eponymous debut received solid treatment.
Bayside’s Anthony Raneri headlined the evening with just his acoustic guitar. Raneri sounded great, performing a nice mix of Bayside material and covers, in addition to a brand new song (“The Ballad of Bill The Saint”) to appear on his upcoming solo album. Shudder‘s “The Ghost of St. Valentine” was a nice surprise and the only Bayside song of the evening to not have received prior acoustic treatment on CD. The full setlist, to the best of my recollection:
Good Fucking Bye (Alkaline Trio cover)
Don’t Call Me Peanut
Sorrow (Bad Religion cover)
Landing Feet First
Blame It on Bad Luck
The Ghost of St. Valentine
The Ballad of Bill The Saint
They Looked Like Strong Hands
Boxcar (Jawbreaker cover)
I and I
I Will Follow You Into the Dark (Death Cab For Cutie cover)
Megan (The Smoking Popes cover)
“Landing Feet First” was dedicated to his wife (in attendance). “Boxcar” was a nice surprise for the few audience members old enough to remember Jawbreaker, while “I Will Follow You Into the Dark” should probably stay with Ben Gibbard. During “Duality”, Raneri joked that Bayside finally became a “legit” band due to the song–more specifically, the song’s intro riff on guitar that allows him to address the crowd before songs like “all the other legit bands”.
The evening was brief but quite enjoyable, and it’s always nice to hear some old The Movielife songs whenever possible. Destry was a nice surprise: the band has serious talent and potential, so don’t let them slip by your radar. Anthony Raneri was excellent, proving that even as stripped down acoustic numbers, Bayside has some incredibly well-written songs.
Photos by Devyn Manibo.