Bayside

support Moneen + Attack In Black
author PP date 23/04/07 venue Underworld, London, UK

Each time I visit the Camden Underworld, a nicely sized venue fitting just about double the amount of people as Barfly (~300-400), I take a few steps back and stand in awe over the interior architectural design, especially around the floor right in front of the stage. But it is not in inspiration I stand back, it is with a frown and a deeply rooted confusion over whether the architect had a few pints too many or if he had just been smoking crack while designing the venue. These two alternatives are the only plausible explanations for the couple of structural pillars in the middle of the floor right in front of the stage, limiting your view of the stage to about two thirds from any position further than just three metres in front of the stage. If you choose to stand back a few metres to get a wider view, you'll either be blocked from viewing the guitarist, the bassist, or both, an ultimate architectural failure at a music venue.

Attack In Black

Tonight's first act was yet another Canadian up and coming act (there seems to be an awful lot of them these days) called Attack In Black. Unfortunately I arrived slightly too late to see more than just a few songs by them so rating them would be unfair, but they deserve a few words anyway. The first song I witnessed was a slow, melodic ballad in the vein of Copeland, only slightly louder. It had some singalongable moments and instantly helped me to get into the atmosphere of tonights gig, even if almost nobody knew the band from beforehand. They played one more semi-acoustic track, until they completely caught me off guard by staging a Comeback Kid style hardcore punk assault with a massive anti-build up (I'm making up words here). It was loud, fast, and aggressive, until the breakdown arrived and their sound morphed back into the slow tempo balladic form again. It caught my interest, and I'll certainly be checking them out later on.

Moneen

After Attack In Black it was time for Moneen to enter the stage. For some reason, this tour had been advertised as co-headline tour, but it was clearly Moneen acting as a support band to Bayside, a fact which Bayside also announced. I've seen them once before and watched countless YouTube live videos, and I have to tell you the truth, they're yet to disappoint me. Moneen is one of the tightest and most energetic bands on stage, there isn't a single moment where the band isn't jumping around like madmen, crashing towards the crowd with their instruments or just shouting the lyrics with the kind of passion rarely seen in today's bands.

Kenny's vocals were once again spot on, and especially "Don't Ever Tell Locke.." and "Are We Really Happy.." triggered massive singalongs from a small proportion of the crowd that had come to see Moneen. You might find the latter statement as strange as I, given their epic melodies and incredible live shows, but it seemed like there were only 30-40 moneen fans in total out of the 300 or so people at the venue, disgraceful if you ask me. What was even more horrible was that when Kenny, the always honest and fan-loving person he is, held a breating pause in between their intensely delivered songs and said "I can't thank you enough for coming to see us here, taking time off your day to come see us", some faggot shouted "We came to see Bayside!" from the back. It was one of those moments when you just want to not care about getting kicked out of the show, and just punch the man in the face, and kick him when he falls down. It was an especially horrible thing to say to a band that is probably the most honest, the most caring band out there.

Given their shorter set, the band almost didn't bother with older songs, instead focusing on the newer material more likely to appeal to the Bayside crowd. But to criticise their asshole fans once again, they were talking and discussing loudly during the instrumental experimentations of Moneen, where you're just supposed to watch in silence in awe-inspiration over how amazingly creative the band can be. That destroyed a large part of the experience for me and other Moneen fans out there, so thanks a lot, assholes.

As expected, Moneen closed their set with "The Passing Of America", and this is where the band truly showed their worth. Bouncing back and forth like absolute madmen, nearly slicing crowd members' heads off with their guitars, the band put on the kind of show most bands aspire to do but usually fail. Kenny even climbed across the barrier-fence on the left side of the venue to play a solo on top of it, before falling on the other side. He had so much trouble getting back that he missed the first two lines of the finishing chorus, but not that it mattered because the crowd knew every single word to it. He then dangerously hanged his guitar from the ceiling above the crowd and crowdsurfed while singing the final lyrics of the song. Great show once again from Moneen, an experience which was only reduced by the idiocy of the vast majority of the crowd.

8

Moneen Setlist:

  • 1. Don't Ever Tell Locke What He Can't Do
  • 2. If Tragedy's Appealing, Then Disaster's An Addiction
  • 3. Are We Really Happy With Who We Are Right Now?
  • 4. Start Angry...And Mad
  • 5. There Are A Million Reasons For Why This May Not Work... And Just One Good One For Why It Will
  • 6. The Day No One Needed To Know
  • 7. Tonight I'm Gone
  • 8. This Is All Bigger Than Me
  • 9. The Passing Of America

Bayside

After a good 25 minutes of waiting, Victory Records favorites Bayside entered the stage to a thunder of applaud and screams from the younger fans to one of their older tunes "Montauk". It was clear from the first minutes that Bayside wouldn't be able to outplay Moneen, so a show that usually would have been awesome didn't feel as great simply because it paled in comparison to what we had just witnessed. Having to watch Bayside to just stand still while playing their show, without showing much additional effort or energy, isn't exactly your ideal scenario after having Moneen damn near tear apart the stage and their amps. However, whereas Bayside perhaps wasn't as active on stage as Moneen, they certainly had the singalongs figured out. "Duality" and "Masterpiece" had the entire venue singing along to the lyrics, and vocalist Raneri could blank out every other line because it would be sang back at him by everyone.

But just like their record label Victory, their show seemed just a tad bit too commercial and scripted for my taste. Looking at the setlist glued to the stage, the band had clearly lined up when they would stop playing and say obligatory things like "we love you guys" et cetera. To me, this indicates that Raneri doesn't truly mean what he says, or even if he does, it doesn't come straight from the heart. At the very least it demonstrates the kind of platonic relationship Bayside (and probably their fans) have to their music, merely as a platform for being able to tour across the world and having people enjoy your music. That's not to say they don't want to write this style of music or that they don't like it, but it just doesn't seem like the same kind of love-of-your-life relationship as Moneen has, who put everything on the line every single time they perform, simply because there is absolutely nothing else in the entire world they would want to do more than to write and play their songs.

Nonetheless, there were occasional spurs of passion that filtered through the otherwise flaccid stage show. "The Walking Wounded" and "Devotion And Desire" initiated a mosh pit and saw the crowd go wild. "I And I" saw big singalongs taking place, but at the entirely wrong places: The band had wished for the crowd to sing during "I and I, we're taking control of our lives", a weird choice in my opinion, and as a surprise to them (but nobody else), the strongest singalongs took place during the infectious chorus "Sooo hooold back.. steadfast you gotta breathe".

All in all, Bayside did a good job and their show was by no means bad. However, they were undisputably outplayed tonight by Moneen, the clearly better act on stage. But any Moneen fan should have been expecting this anyway, and it actually surprised me how few people knew Moneen from the crowd, as I had been hoping for them to be the headlining act. But I guess this just shows that it all depends on your passport - Bayside gets just that much more promotion being American, while the arguably more talented and experimental Canadian band gets shoved aside.

6

Bayside Setlist:

  • 1. Montauk
  • 2. Dear Your Holiness
  • 3. Duality
  • 4. Blame It On Bad Luck
  • 5. Choice Hops And Bottled Self Esteem
  • 6. Existing In A Crisis
  • 7. Masterpiece
  • 8. I And I
  • 9. The Walking Wounded
  • 10. They Looked Like Strong Hands
  • 11. Devotion And Desire
  • --Encore--
  • 12. Don't Call Me A Peanut

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