On October 26th, the House of Blues attracted some of LA’s most die-hard punk rock fans as established bands brought their cult-like followings to rock out to timeless favorites and new hits It was a significantly older crowd that evening but given how long these bands have been around, it makes sense that the average age was slightly higher than pop punk shows featuring newer artists.
Opener Transit may be relatively new in the punk-rock scene as compared to their tourmates, but they still had an impressive amount of fans in the audience. Their recently released, critically acclaimed album Listen & Forgive may have had a hand in that as the Boston-based group played several tracks off the new record, including their newest single “Long Lost Friends.” This up-and-coming band was the perfect opening act for the evening as fans were given a taste of a newer band in the midst of more established groups.
Brooklyn’s I Am The Avalanche had the crowd headbanging in time from their first song. Fresh off a release as well, the band played several tracks from their new Avalanche United album. Lead vocalist Vinnie Caruana spoke often in between songs, but eventually stated, “I don’t wanna listen to myself talk anymore. I just wanna play music.” After noting that this was their first time playing Los Angeles in years, the band launched into “This Is Dungeon Music” with, “I’m getting real suspicious of the one I love.”
“My Second Restraining Order” featured Brett Romnes’ throbbing double bass as Caruana repeatedly screamed, “I want my fucking records back.” The group ended with their powerful, breakout hit “I Took A Beating,” during which the crowd sang back the gang vocals, echoing “beating” as the band requested a circle pit in the final breakdown.
Despite Saves the Day being the headliner that evening, Bayside was the clear draw as the floor was crammed when Anthony Raneri appeared under a lone spotlight strumming the opening chords of “Blame It On Bad Luck.” Amps appropriately spelled out “CULT,” proving to be an apt description of the band’s devoted following. Knocking fifteen emotionally powerful songs out of the park, the band encouraged fans to throw up their hands and sing the gang vocals, particularly in songs like “Sick! Sick! Sick!” The crowd remained energetic and engaged for the upbeat “Carry On,” the eerie waltzing “Walking Wounded,” and the regretful “Killing Time.”
Raneri paused in the middle of the group’s set to address the crowd’s steadfast dedication. He explained, “This is our eleventh year as a band, and we’ve been coming to LA for ten years. LA is a tough crowd – you guys have seen it all, you go to shows every day of the week. You guys are tough to get, but once you’re got, you’re unbelievable.” He then began the band’s deeply personal acoustic track “Don’t Call Me Peanut,” during which Raneri was overpowered by the singing crowd. In one of the most emotionally poignant moments of the evening, the guitars were silenced and the crowd screamed, “I may have your heart, he has your body.” The overwhelming energy of Bayside’s performance matched the energy of their music during set closer, “Devotion and Desire,” and the band ended their performance with gifts of water bottles, drum sticks, guitar picks, and set lists.
As Saves The Day took the stage, the buzzing excitement of the venue had dipped notably, and the floor had cleared out significantly. After seventeen years of making music, Saves The Day shouldn’t be surprised that audience members may have caught their shows once or twice before and weren’t as excited for these punk pop legends. The group began with a one two punch of classic songs “Cards and Calories” (with the all-too appropriate lyrics, “grew up in East LA, watching celebrities”) followed by “Shoulder To The Wheel.”
Singer Chris Conley stuck close to the microphone, bopping back and forth with his signature high-pitched voice. Saves The Day hung the same signature banner behind them that they’ve been touring with for years, and there was no theme forwarding their set. Their performance was straight and to the point as the group packed in a ton of short songs ranging from staples like “Holly Hox Forget Me Nots” and “Freakish” to newer songs such as “1984″ off their most recent album Daybreak. It seemed like a trip down memory lane for most audience members as the sing-a-longs remained loud but the energy somewhat low. Band members didn’t address the audience often, and Conley briefly thanked fans before finishing with “At Your Funeral” and walking off sans encore.
There’s no doubt the opening bands that evening revved up the crowd and prepared them for a night of solid punk rock music. It’s not unheard of for a supporting band to draw the biggest crowd and Bayside was no exception – the energy unquestionably peaked during their performance. Their devout fan base came out in droves and stayed to see headliner Saves the Day, who may have noted the lessened enthusiasm but nevertheless performed seventeen of their best tracks. These bands have been through LA dozens of times before, and this surely won’t be their last performance here in, according to Raneri, “the toughest but most rewarding” city to play in the country.
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