Concert Reviews

Bayside’s Intimate Acoustic Show Warms Hearts Even on Chilly Night

Why not get engaged at an emo concert?
Why not get engaged at an emo concert? Chelsey Norris
If you weren’t at Gas Monkey Bar N' Grill freezing your butt off to watch Bayside’s acoustic show Saturday night, we feel sorry for you. You really blew it big-time. And if you missed it to watch the Cowboys lose, we’re sending even more sympathy your way.

Acoustic material is something Bayside has always been known and loved for. Back in 2006, they released their first full-length acoustic record to much acclaim. Their acoustic M.O. is to reimagine their sound in completely new ways, and the result is pure magic. 2018 seemed like the perfect time to do it again, vocalist Anthony Raneri told us before the show.

“We put out a lot of records since that first acoustic record, so we wanted to do an updated one,” he said.

Acoustic Vol. 2 showcases fan favorites like “Duality,” “Sick, Sick, Sick” and “Devotion and Desire,” alongside some lesser known tracks, including “I Think I’ll Be OK” and “Howard” from their oft-overlooked record, Shudder.

“We wanted to make sure we included some songs that we thought were missed – songs that we thought were better than the response they got,” Raneri shared. “We had the idea that maybe if we dressed them up differently, we could show people what we saw in them.”

A typical Bayside show might include hordes of emo kids jumping around, moshing and maybe even the occasional circle pit, which can be fun to watch. But their acoustic show was just plain entertaining, sans mayhem. The flow was organic and relaxed. Raneri and his bandmates seemed at ease onstage, engaging in some adorable banter between songs and sporting smiles all night long.

The set list was a delightful mix of their biggest hits and deep cuts, although someone unfamiliar with their catalog wouldn’t have been able to tell the difference based on the crowd’s reaction. It seemed like everyone in attendance knew every single song, which created an intimate, albeit freezing cold, atmosphere.

Raneri says the vibe at Bayside’s acoustic shows can vary from night to night, something that keeps them on their toes during the tour.

“One night we played a dive-y punk club, and it was packed and sweaty, so we played loud and fast,” he said. “Everyone sang along, and it was like a raucous-y sort of night. The next day we played in a synagogue where they usually have authors do speaking engagements and that kinda stuff. Super classy place. And there were pews, and the audience was seated. It was completely different.”

He went on to predict that the Dallas show would be similarly rowdy, due to the cold weather.

“People are just gonna say ‘fuck it,’ and they’re gonna drink a lot,” he said. “And then they’re just gonna say ‘I’m here, might as well enjoy it.’”

He wasn’t wrong. There was plenty of imbibing, which resulted in lots of drunken singing as well as screaming requests from the pit as the night went on.

Bayside ended the show with “Landing Feet First,” a heartfelt ballad from The Walking Wounded. It was the perfect sweet ending to an incredible performance. So sweet, in fact, that one man in the audience decided to pop the question to his girlfriend. The happy couple made their way on stage and slow-danced to the rest of the song. If you’re reading this, congratulations and we wish you a lifetime of emo music.
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