Bayside Takes First Avenue Through Time

September 17, 2021 - Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States - Bayside live in concert at First Avenue along with Senses Fail, Hawthorne Heights, and The Bombpops as the openers. (Photo by Seth Steffenhagen/Steffenhagen Photography)

The Bombpops kicked off the night with their catchy high-energy tracks. The Los Angeles-based band took no time shifting the energy into high gear at First Avenue. Their 30 minute opening set was densely packed with up beat punk music that got the growing crowd moving as they began to filter in.

Jen Razavi along with stand in tour guitarist, Remmington, played out their hard hitting punchy riffs. Remmington did an excellent job filling in for Poli van Dam on guitar and vocals and has a great performance to match Razavi. They were a joy to watch and were a stellar way to quickly set the tone for the night to come.

As the stage lights remained dark and dormant, Hawthorne Heights took their places upon the stage to cheers from the crowd. A white spotlight illuminated singer and guitarist JT Woodruff who had a brief heart felt message for the crowd about relating to the music.  They set out to play lots of their classic older material which stirred up memories of youth for many. As JT commented they did write a soundtrack for the high school years for many in attendance. Slamming the door to their bedroom and just looking to tune it all out while they tune in to the sounds of Hawthorne Heights. He mentioned things start to better, they go off to college and your 20’s seem great. Then your 30’s roll around and it just hits you in the face. You open the mailbox and those bills in there will be there again. It will be like that every day, forever. This is the introductory words before they play their new song, Constant Dread. Their newer material was well received by the crowd but as Woodruff bemoaned, we need to turn back the clock as our 30’s are scary.  With that they pulled out some more nostalgic tunes for their fans.

The crowd was full of people singing along and swaying to the music. All across the venue there were pockets of friends having a great time and reminiscing their youth. Taking pictures with each other as they shout out the lyrics. Even the late comers came rushing in to the back so they could soak in the memories of their past as Hawthorne Heights were wrapping up their set. As the final notes of the rang out, Woodruff asked everyone to call their mom on the way home. Tell her that emo still isn’t a phase! This lead to an eruption of cheers from the invigorated audience.

The sentimental longing didn’t end there, in fact it only started to flourish further as the sing-along continued between sets. Taking Back Sunday’s MakeDamnSure kept the crowd shouting with their hands in the air. My Chemical Romance and Killswitch Engage tracks would keep that energy up as fans were eager for Senses Fail to perform their set. The New Jersey post-hardcore band kept things light and airy with their intro music selection. Wilson Philips’ song Hold On pierced through the darkened stage as they emerged from the shadows. Right off the bat, the intensity from lead singer, James Nielsen, is prevalent. It was an astounding show from all the shaking and jumping to the twirling and microphone tossing. It was a constant barrage and was quite a thrilling performance.

Once again, those in attendance took it all in and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The pit that had formed on the floor of the mainroom was a fairly constant rotation throughout the set. To keep the nostalgia fully on track they covered a bit of a segment of Rage Against The Machine’s Bulls On Parade. During the last song by Senses Fail, Nielsen could be seen shaking a set of keys. Before the curtain dropped on their set he said “I don’t know whose keys these are but you have to buy a Senses Fail shirt to get them back.”

This truly was a mesmerizing set, if you don’t know any better about who was on the bill you could have walked out feeling satiated from their set thinking the show was complete.

Of course that was not the case because this night was all about the 20, scratch that, 21 years of Bayside. Indeed that bad luck to put a halt to many plans last year when this 20 year celebration tour was to commence. Luckily for us things have gotten to the point were this career spanning set could finally take place.

Frontman Anthony Ranieri commented that they don’t get to Minneapolis too much. “It was 57 below zero. It was the coldest place on earth last time we played here. We really have to come here and play more often.” Indeed they should, as it would make many folks happy to have them roll through town more frequently. During the performance of Don’t Call Me Peanut the crowd sang along as the two acoustic guitars laid the framework. “That sounds so beautiful” as Ranieri chimes in at the conclusion of the song. Winter was the first song performed for the encore. Ranieri stated the song was written in 2 hours and then shelved from live performances and he figured this was the tour to bring it out. 

The overall arching theme of the night to me was that these bands have been at it for a number of years and we’ve all grown older together. Time marches on and we are along for the ride. As Raneri has sung “getting old is so contagious.” and “I am always getting older all the time.”

Setlist: Already Gone – They’re Not Horses They’re Unicorns – Sick, Sick, Sick – Pigsty – Boy – Duality – Montauk – Prayers – Masterpiece – Don’t Call Me Peanut – Mary – Landing Feet First – Blame It On Bad Luck – Winter – They Looked Like Strong Hands – Devotion And Desire