It has been said many times that this fall (and 2011 in general) has been exceptionally good for new music. Let's not forget that the tours the artists are going on in support of those releases are equally as exciting. One of the more noteworthy line-ups as of late is a co-headlining tour between Saves the Day and Bayside with support from I Am the Avalanche and Transit. I caught the sold out show at the Royale in Boston, MA on October 8.
Opening the show was Massachusetts' own Transit. Frontman Joe Boynton said that the band hadn't had the chance to play in their home state to celebrate the release of their new album, Listen and Forgive, so they considered it their CD release show. Despite typically playing with no barricade, they received a warm reception from their hometown crowd as they split their half hour set between old and new material. They ended with "Please Head North," a fan favorite that got the crowd exited.
Up next was I Am the Avalanche. From the opening of "Brooklyn Dodgers," it was obvious that fans are happy to have the band back with their first new album in six years, Avalanche United. Perhaps no one seemed more excited than frontman Vinnie Caruana, as he was clearly joyed to sing the new songs and see fans reciprocate. The new material seems to have more energy behind it, and that translated well into the live show. Bayside's Anthony Raneri (to whom Caruana referred as "a much better singer than me") came out to sing on "Gravedigger's Argument." Their set concluded with "I Took A Beating," at the end of which Caruana called for a circle pit.
As previously mentioned, this is co-headlining run between Bayside and Saves the Day. While they alternate who closes out the show, they each play for about an hour. If the tour is in the same city two nights in a row, as it was in Boston, the bands change up their setlists a good deal to keep things interesting. I had the pleasure of attending two nights and thoroughly enjoyed them both. (Coincidentally, I think both Saves the Day's and Bayside's setlists were a little stronger on their respective "headlining" nights, but that's a matter of opinion.)
As a band with such an extensive back catalogue, it's always a surprise to see what Saves the Day will throw into their set. They are also supporting a new album, the recently released Daybreak. The end result was a handful of new songs mixed in with a healthy dose of fan favorites. Much has been said about the group's revolving members over the years, but the current line-up may very well be the best incarnation of Saves the Day yet, as cemented by the live show. Guitarist Arun Bali particularly shines, playing the older material with ease while showcasing his skills on the new songs.
Reaction to the new material was expectedly more reserved that that of old material, but a highlight of the night was witnessing the band perform "Daybreak" in its entirety. The five-part, ten and a half-minute track was executed to perfection by the band, leaving many fans in awe - although other attendees didn't seem to realize what they were witnessing. The band wrapped it up after that with "At Your Funeral" as the majority of the audience joined vocalist Chris Conley in singing along.
"Blame It On Bad Luck" is usually reserved for later in a Bayside set, so fans knew they were in for a treat when the band began their set with it. More accurately, Raneri began with it, performing the opening chorus and verse solo before being joined by his bandmates as the Bayside backdrop was released from the rafters. Their set ranged from their latest effort, Killing Time, to their early albums - although Shudder remains under-represented.
I have said it before and I will say it again: Bayside is one of the most consistent acts I've seen. Both live and on record, they never disappoint. The band is one of the few that can sound like they do on record in a live setting while still giving all their energy. Not to be outdone by Bali, Bayside guitarist Jack O'Shea is one of the standout guitarists in the scene, playing riffs and solos effortlessly. Caruana joined the band to sing his part of "The Walking Wounded" before ending the night on a high note with "Devotion and Desire."
Raneri said that, despite only being three days in, this is already his favorite tour that he has ever been on. And there's good reason for that: the line-up is one of the year's strongest, and all of the bands give it their all with no need for gimmicks. It's hitting most major markets, and I highly recommend attending if you're a fan of any act on the bill. You're guaranteed to be pleased from start to finish.