"This is the first night of the Take Action Tour. Isn't that cool?" Bayside frontman Anthony Raneri asked the excited audience at the Paradise in Boston on April 22. "We were like, 'Where can we go that people will be really excited and we can kick off this tour in style?' So, naturally, we came to Boston." The crowd roared with approval.
Although I could make plenty of arguments as to why Raneri was correct in saying that there is no better place than Boston, the truth is that anywhere is a great place for the Take Action Tour. Not only is the line-up - Bayside, Silverstein, Polar Bear Club, The Swellers and Texas In July - among the best in the tour's 10-year history, but it's always excellent to see musicians supporting a good cause. This year's charity is Sex, Etc., which provides sex education for teens.
The night started out with a (head)bang as Texas In July took the stage. As a relatively unknown metalcore band, they were the odd man out of the tour. That will likely change, however; not only did the group just release their Equal Vision Records debut, but the tour is sure to be great exposure for them. Although they seemed a bit too heavy for some of the crowd members, their breakdowns got others moshing during their 20-minute set.
The Swellers were up next. They came out to the spoken-word track "Wasted Youth" from Meat Loaf's Bat Out of Hell II. Because the band only had a half hour, I wish they had cut the lengthy intro in favor of another song. It was the group's first U.S. show in months (prior to this, they had toured overseas and recorded a new album), but they played a solid set and received a warm reaction from the crowd.
I was hoping to hear more material from their forthcoming Good For Me, but the lone new song they played was "The Best I Ever Had," which was released online that day. I'm glad they still throw "Bottles" from their first album into the mix. The rest of their set came from Ups and Downsizing, including my personal favorite, "2009," to end the set. The energetic song works well as a closer.
Polar Bear Club took the stage for the next 30 minutes. They played a mix of material from both of their full-lengths, concluding with a rousing performance of "Living Saints." They also played a new song, titled "Bottled Wind." If it's any indication of what's in store for their new album, Clash Battle Guilt Pride, fans will undoubtedly be pleased.
Vocalist Jimmy Stadt said that they were given notes on what to say about the tour. "'Tell a sex joke.' Anyone? I don't know a goddamn sex joke!" The raspy-voiced frontman instead expressed the band's excitement in doing their first charity tour. Between this and a spot on last year's AP Fall Ball Tour, the group seems to finally be getting some much-deserved exposure.
The tour is a co-headlining bout between Silverstein and Bayside, and on the premiere stop Silverstein played second-to-last. The Take Action alumni (they played in 2006) came out with the ferocious "Vices" and didn't let up for over 50 minutes until they ended with "Bleeds No More."
The band played a solid mix of material from each of their albums. The tunes from their new album, Rescue, fit in perfectly. They played a lot of faster songs, with bassist Billy Hamilton's backing screams giving the heavier moments a more robust sound. There was also a lighter moment in vocalist Shane Told performing an acoustic rendition of "Replace You." At one point, Told's microphone cut out so he did what anyone would do in such a situation: a stage dive.
I was impressed that the band played quick covers of Kid Dynamite's "Pits and Poisoned Apples" and American Nightmare's "Hearts" - which appear on the band's recent Record Store Day 7" (of which the band had a few copies at their merch table) - but disappointed by how clueless most of the audience was, especially since it was Boston. Nevertheless, Told said that the first show of a tour usually isn't that great, but Boston was "fucking killing it."
Bayside is easily one of the most consistent bands in the scene, both live and on record. They proved their dependability once again with their hour-long set. Raneri sounds like he could be in the studio at every show, and lead guitarist Jack O'Shea's talents are under-appreciated. The set featured choice cuts from each of their five full-lengths (although only one song - "The Ghost of St. Valentine" - from Shudder; it seems to be the black sheep of the band's catalogue, despite having some solid tracks).
The band kicked off with "Already Gone," which proved to be just as great an opener for a show as it is on their new album, Killing Time (which they were selling for only $5). Other highlights included an acoustic performance of "Don't Call Me Peanut" with plenty of crowd participation, "Masterpiece" for the old school kids and concluding with the fan favorite to "Devotion and Desire."
The tone of the night - from both the bands and the audience - was one of joy. Everyone was happy to support a great cause with an excellent line-up of music. The Swellers frontman Nick Diener said it best: "We don't have any choreographed dance moves for you. We've just got these guitars and these amplifiers and this drum set and my voice. It's not a computer; it's a real goddamn voice. So thank you for supporting real music."