Having heard quite a few good things about Bayside’s fifteen year anniversary tour already, I was definitely excited for the band’s show in Denver on a nice Saturday night. The show proved to be interesting, with a lineup of bands that all sound completely different from one another. On top of that, Man Overboard’s vocalist Nik Bruzzese unfortunately had to fly home for a family emergency, leaving the band short-staffed and (apparently) with something fun up their sleeve for the Denver show.
The night began with Canadian pop-punkers, Seaway. While the band kicked off their set with a couple of their more mellow tracks, their die-hard fans in the crowd were definitely still feeling it. A few songs into the set, and there were plenty of sing alongs, and with good reason. Musically, Seaway sounded nearly flawless, and the crowd definitely took notice, especially the pop-punk fans who anxiously awaited the next act, Man Overboard.
The second band of the night wasn’t going to let a missing vocalist and bass player put a damper on their night. Instead of attempting to play their own original songs (which are clearly made for two vocals parts, not just one) Man Overboard took to the stage dressed in all black, leather pants and gloves. Vocalist Zac Eisenstein ditched his guitar in favor of donning face paint and commanding the stage as the band played an entire set of Misfits covers.
For the unsuspecting fan who hadn’t been paying attention to the band’s social media accounts, the cover set was definitely a surprise, and (to some) a slight disappointment. But for die-hard Man Overboard (and Misfits) fans, the set was a once in a lifetime moment, which left me wondering why in the world Eisenstein doesn’t have a hardcore or punk side project.
Following Man Overboard’s impromptu cover set was quite possibly one of the best Senses Fail performances that I have ever seen. Right off the bat, vocalist Buddy Nielsen was all over the stage, running back and forth, launching his microphone into the air, spinning it around and absolutely commanding the room. The band fed off of his energy, as well, but it wasn’t just the energy that was strong about Senses Fail’s set. Track after track, their sound was on point and Nielsen’s vocals were nearly flawless, on top of his insane stage antics, leaping into the air, and climbing into the crowd. At one point, Nielsen even lept off of the stage and into the sea of fans, completely clearing the barricade.
After Senses Fail’s explosive performance, I was interested to see how Bayside could top things, but I was hopeful that they’d be able to. Having seen their stellar performance on Warped Tour last summer, I had high hopes, and with good reason.
With an intro of the Harry Potter theme song, the fifteen year veterans finally took the stage, and much to the excitement of the crowd. The band opened with “Pigsty,” (my personal favorite) track from their new album, Cult, and within moments, the room seemed to come alive. Throughout the night, Bayside played songs from their fifteen years as a band, from newer tracks off of Cult, to fan-favorite classics like “Devotion And Desire.” The entire room was captivated by Bayside’s performance, and with good reason. On top of commanding the room musically, the band (as always) was impossible to take your eyes off of. (At one point, vocalist Another Raneri even snatched a fan’s phone to snap a few quick selfies.)
The show was a roller coaster, and with good reason. From pop-punk, to Misfits covers and horror punk, all the way to Senses Fail’s insane stage presence, and a Bayside performance that proved just why the band is still selling out tours fifteen years later, this is a lineup that shouldn’t be missed.