As part of the Zumiez Couch Tour, Bayside performed a free hour-long set at the Monmouth Mall parking lot in Eatontown, New Jersey. In front of a motley crew of faux mall-punks stopping by to catch a free show and rabid Bayside fans alike, the Queens quartet played exceptionally well and likely won over many new fans while also appeasing those who already support the band.
Bayside opened with the brief “Hello Shitty”, the first song from their 2005 self-titled album. Without wasting a second, the dark guitars of Jack O’Shea and frontman Anthony Raneri set the mood for the bleak “Tortures of the Damned”. The equally ominous “They’re Not Horses, They’re Unicorns” followed, with Raneri continuing to paint tortured images of his life and various relationships. “No One Understands” continued the band’s grim outlook, but midway through the song Raneri offered hope: “If the sun don’t shine tomorrow, we’ll survive”.
“The Ghost of Saint Valentine”, one of the band’s standout songs from their excellent 2008 effort, Shudder, sounded great. The explosive title track from The Walking Wounded, anchored by Chris Guglielmo’s heavy percussion, found the entire crowd singing along to the song’s infectious chorus. Much of Bayside’s appeal is derived from the band’s enormous choruses, and fewer songs showcase that aspect more strongly than the tightly executed “I and I” which promptly followed “The Walking Wounded”.
Newer favorite “Boy” and longtime favorite “Masterpiece” were terrific, but more than thirty minutes into the setlist the band’s performance was becoming extremely predictable. Bayside offered no surprises throughout their fifteen song set, sticking to the same basic setlist they established in 2008. Of the band’s thirteen songs from Shudder, just four of them received live treatment; while the band certainly picks the best songs from their older material, it would be a nice change of pace to see some of the band’s top-notch new material in a live environment.
“Montauk” was one of the sets highlights, featuring a blistering solo by O’Shea. The band wrapped up their hour-long performance with “Devotion and Desire” as they have for much of their career; the song’s signature opening lick launched the audience into a frenzy, drawing in onlookers who had previously remained at a distance from the crowd.
Tortures of the Damned
They’re Not Horses, They’re Unicorns
No One Understands
The Ghost of Saint Valentine
The Walking Wounded
I and I
Roshambo (Rock, Paper, Scissors)
Blame it on Bad Luck
Devotion and Desire
Despite predictable song selection, Bayside’s performance was near-perfect during their sixty-minute set; the band put an enormous effort into each song, and Raneri pushed his voice to its limits. The band is recording a new album this fall. Judging by the merits of the band’s already-outstanding discography, the new effort is highly anticipated. Still, the band has so much material from Shudder that still hasn’t been performed live. It would be nice to see the band touch on some of their existing songs before unleashing a brand new batch.