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Review: Bayside @ Best Buy Theater 4.4.14

bayside band

April showers do indeed bring May flowers, and the rain on Friday was enough to have most people deciding to stay at home. That wasn't the case for those headed to Best Buy Theater to catch one of NYC's most beloved bands.

Mixtapes aren't the kind of group to take themselves seriously. With enlarged photos of ice cream cones placed on their amps and Minecraft swords tacked onto their drumkit, the Cincinnati pop punk band clearly came to have fun. The band's performance had some unexpected awkward moments, including guitarist/vocalist Ryan Rockwell unintentionally breaking a mic stand and guitarist/vocalist Maura Weaver hitting him in the head with a backpack, but that's part of their charm. Mixtapes are used to performing in front of smaller crowds on tour, so playing in front a sold-out audience at Best Buy Theater (or, as Ryan called it, "Best Band Theater") was somewhat overwhelming. For their set closer "Mt. Hope", the band encouraged fans to hit the stage to sing Soupy's part in the tune, but security unfortunately put an end to that task. Noticing what was transpiring, Ryan placed his microphone at the edge of the stage for those unable to complete the trip.

Doylestown, PA group Superheaven, who were originally known as Daylight until legal issues came forth, looked as if they stepped out of a 90s grunge music video during their performance. With their grunge sound bracketed with their stage presence, it definitely emitted a nostalgic aura. "This is about my little sister," said guitarist/vocalist Taylor Madison before the track "Youngest Daughter". The band's latest album Jar deals with a plethora of personal trials and tribulations in the vocalist's life. "Youngest Daughter" focuses on his sister's battle with heroin addiction. Lines like "The poison takes away from us/ Now, you're sick to death from all the drugs" were just as chilling as the crunchy guitars that engulfed the venue. Their set was nothing but Jar material, including set opener "Knew", "Around The Railing" and set closer "Life In A Jar".

With the exception of a couple gigs with Blink-182, a few performances at the Slam Dunk Festival in the U.K., and their annual holiday event, Four Year Strong had a pretty quiet 2013. A much needed break was inevitable after years of tremendous touring around the world. A plethora of bouncing bodies and moshpits spewed across the floor as the group opened their set with "What The Hell Is A Gigawatt?" from their 2010 release Enemy Of The World. This was the band's first NYC performance since their headlining stint on the 2011 Alternative Press tour, and their fans were anxious to throw down for these bearded gentlemen. The band performed a set full of fan favorites, including "Maniac (R.O.D.)", "Tonight We Feel Alive (On A Saturday)", and "Heroes Get Remembered, Legends Never Die". They also performed "Stuck In The Middle" from In Some Way, Shape Or Form, an album that didn't really sit well with most fans. Four Year Strong will make their return to Vans Warped Tour this summer, and if the crowd reaction was any indication of this summer's escapades, the four piece act will definitely have a blast reuniting with old friends and making new ones.

Even after fourteen years, Queens, NY band Bayside have done something that most bands have a hard time doing in today's ever-changing music scene: continue to write damn good songs and maintain a strong fanbase. The release of their sixth album and Hopeless Records debut Cult, which had its name taken from the slogan "Bayside is a CULT", finds the band delivering some of their most prime material to date.

Bayside greeted their hometown crowd with "Big Cheese", the first song from their new album. The pit got immense for the following two tracks "Already Gone" and "Pigsty". With a massive list of songs, the band sometimes have a rough time piecing together a set that will result in satisfied fans. That kind of stress gets diminished tenfold with the hometown crowd showing full support.

The intro to "The Walking Wounded" found the crowd swaying from side to side before exploding into a moshpit. Bayside visited their 2004 debut album Sirens and Condolences for a moment with "Masterpiece", a track that's arguably considered one of their best and was the first single that really made an impact on college radio stations across the country.

Guitarist Jack O'Shea certainly brought some dynamic riff power over the band's alternative punk soundscape. Tracks like "Big Cheese" and "The Walking Wounded" flourished with Jack's hypnotizing guitar solos. Frontman Anthony Raneri had some solo time with "Don't Call Me Peanut", a track which forced a big sigh from a few attendees. With an acoustic guitar in hand and some help from Jack, the vocalist had the house lights turned on in order to witness a gathering of 2,000 people singing along.

For the encore, Anthony returned to the acoustic guitar for the track "Moceanu" before dropping the guitar for the following cut "Dear Tragedy". After the final song "Devotion and Desire", the rain outside intensified, but fans were too busy randomly breaking out into Bayside songs to care. (Terrance Pryor)