Venue – Brooklyn Bowl
Location – Nashville, TN
Date – September 11th, 2021
Lineup – Bayside w/ Senses Fail, Hawthorn Heights, The Bombpops
As i arrived outside the fairly new-ish Brooklyn Bowl venue in Nashville, not only had it officially settled that this was my first live show I would be photographing/reviewing in nearly nineteen months, but also that it couldn’t have worked out better to be seeing a lineup full of bands that took up a large chunk of my highschool days. And what seemed like a distant sight in attending shows regularly before, soon settled into a night of pure fun and nostalgia.
Up first were The Bombpops, who were the only band I wasn’t extensively familiar with prior to the show. I had heard a bit of their ‘Death In Venice Beach’ album released last year, which was enough to strike my curiosity in seeing how they would handle opening a show for this sort of audience. Fusing that sort of early 2000’s alternative punk style with their own brand of pop definitely strikes a chord and helps them not only stand on their own, but makes them an effectively fun and entertaining act to have on this bill.
And then came time for the opening band I’d argue that the crowd were most excited for, that being Hawthorne Heights. About halfway through their fan favorite opening track ‘This Is Who We Are’, that sense of reminiscence took over the room. It had been roughly fifteen years since I had seen them perform live, and I genuinely think they’re one of the few from that time period that have actually gotten better with age. The setlist was full of fan favorites, but my personal favorite moment was when JT took a moment to introduce their new track ‘Constant Dread’ off their recently released album ‘The Rain Just Follows Me’. He expressed to the crowd that their seminal album ‘The Silence In Black And White’ was their way of helping them get through their teens, and that ‘The Rain Just Follows’ is now their way of helping them get through their thirties. Closing out their set with the somewhat obvious but certainly welcomed ‘Niki FM’ and ‘Ohio Is For Lovers’, the crowd sang the lyrics back even louder than the band themselves.
Next were the band that had the biggest impact on me growing up out of the lineup, Senses Fail‘ I can’t even tell you how many times i nearly wore out my copies of ‘Still Searching’, and I always look forward to going back in time to revisit these songs. I admittedly fell out of it with the band for a while, as their middle records never initially settled with me. But as I stood their with the majority of the rest of the crowd, pushing our thirties, that thought I had about HH getting better with age, became even more apparent with this band. ‘If There Is Light, It Will Find You’ became the record I never expected. It’s not necessarily their heaviest or fastest, but there’s just this overwhelming sense of ‘everything is going to be alright’ that washes over. And while I still enjoy the older material, the new songs actually became the highlight of their set. Buddy Nielsen gets better and better as both a lyricist, and a performer. It’s nearly impossible to not become immersed and entertained seeing Senses Fail live. I mean hey, what other bands could effectively pull off a cover medley of ‘Down With The Sickness’, ‘Break Stuff’, and ‘Bulls On Parade’ to end their set? Not very many, I’d imagine.
At this point after a night full of nostalgia, it was finally time for Bayside. The band are, if you can believe it, currently out on their twenty first anniversary tour as a band. That in itself makes me feel old as I even type it out. But it’s hard to imagine a more appropriate way for the band to celebrate it than with this lineup. Kicking their set off with my personal favorite track (and let’s be real, the perfect Bayside opener) ‘Already Gone’ the crowd was dancing and singing along with the very first note. The band touched upon at least one track from seemingly almost every release, but pleasantly enough focusing the bulk of their time seminal self titled, and most recent full length ‘Interrobang’. And while vocalist Anthony Raneri may be the sole original member, the current lineup have been going at it for fifteen years now, and it absolutely shows in just how increasingly musically tight the band got throughout the night. And when it came time for the encore, The band went on with the strongest finish they possibly could have gone with, closing the night with ‘They Looked Like Strong Hands’, and finally with the track that initially sold me on Bayside, ‘Devotion And Desire’.
After all was said and done, the crowd was spent, and the bands all gave everything they had. If you have the chance to catch this tour before it’s conclusion, I can without question recommend you do so.