Web review: Wednesday, March 18 – Bayside, Senses Fail, Man Overboard, Seaway at the Showbox at the Market in Seattle.
It was both a blast from the past and a taste of the present on Wednesday, March 18 as veterans Bayside and Senses Fail took the stage with Man Overboard and Seaway at the Showbox at the Market in Seattle.
Bayside and Senses Fail have been mainstays of their respective scenes for over a decade, while Man Overboard and Seaway are on the younger side. But after the show, I could tell one thing was certain: Bayside and Senses Fail can still bring it on a high level. The overall experience wasn’t mind-blowing across the board due to a slower start than I would have anticipated but things definitely picked up with the headliners, making for what turned out to be a fun and nostalgic night.
The Showbox was comfortably full, showing that Bayside and Senses Fail can still pack a house. The crowd was divided into some pretty specific demographics. There was a sea of what appeared to be high school sophomores, mixed with grizzled, hipsteresque former scene kids and your typical mid to late 20-year-olds that mostly kept to the bar areas to get their pre-show buzz working.
The sound was really fantastic so many props to whoever was handling that. The music was clear and not overbearingly loud which isn’t always the case. Each band was tight and together. Your rehearsals definitely paid off, guys.
Seaway kicked things off and, personally, I thought their sound was a little dated. I can imagine a New Found Glory show in 2002 with Seaway opening and everyone going absolutely nuts. But Wednesday they only did a decent job warming up the crowd. To be fair, they are a relatively newer band (at least by comparison to Bayside and Senses Fail) coming out with the wave of pop punk these past few years, so they still have time to find their sound. I really think that within a couple of years, they can be headlining shows and absolutely killing it.
When Man Overboard started you could definitely tell they had a little bit more of defined stage presence and that they’d been around the block for a little longer. Personally, I think they could have benefited from some vocal warm-ups because their harmonies didn’t always quite connect. This band has never really been my cup of tea anyway but I do think they had a good live performance and energized the crowd well so I can see why people dig it. As a sidenote (and I realize this has nothing to do with the music) frontman Zac Eisenstein has got to lose the sunglasses. We get it, man. You’re a rock star. You still shouldn’t be rocking shades inside.
Senses Fail then took the stage and that put the show into full throttle overdrive. It didn’t take more than a few seconds for singer Buddy Nielsen to lunge off stage into the crowd screaming. Their set was exhilerating. The sound was huge and Nielsen’s vocals were on point.
I was fortunate enough to catch up with Nielsen before the show and he explained how Senses Fail has essentially become his solo project, meaning that he now has complete creative control over the direction of the band.
“Senses Fail is really only myself at this point,” Nielsen said. “[I have] hired musicians so they’re part of the band and they do help write some songs but as far as all creative control it’s really up to me…I don’t really have to be collaborative anymore so it makes it easy to get what I want to do across rather than what other people are interested in doing.”
Nielsen also told me that he even after 13 years on the scene, he feels as though as the mission and the purpose behind the band is as clear and defined as it has ever been.
“At this point I think there’s more integrity in the band than ever because the people in the band have dedicated their lives [to being] in a touring band,” he said. “Everyone in the band is getting paid to be here but they also have committed to making music. Everybody’s older now…A lot of younger bands do it as like a college thing: ‘Well I’ll do it for a couple years, then I’m out’. That’s not the way we feel or I feel.”
The setlist did not have a single dull moment and was full powerful tracks. Nielsen also took a little bit of time in between tracks to inspire the crowd, speaking on his the recent headlines he’s made surrounding his newfound openness regarding his sexuality, which is something I can definitely respect. That experience alone gave me way more of a reason to listen to their music and make sure never to miss a single show of theirs in Seattle. Closing the set with “Bite to Break Skin” was awesome as well, with a heavy midsection addition before the standard breakdown that’s in the song.
Simply put, Senses Fail brought it.
Finally, Bayside closed the show with their customary killer set. Everyone sounded fantastic and everytime I see them I leave more impressed than the last. Anthony Raneri’s vocals were on point as usual, Jack O’Sheas ripped the lead guitar, bassist Nick Ghanbarian has an awesome stage presence (as well as great musicianship) and Chris Guglielmo holds down the rhythm on the drums as well as anyone.
Their setlist did seem a little standard (which is by no means a bad thing) but it would have been cool to hear a new song like “Dancing Like An Idiot,” or some other less well-known Bayside tracks. One of my favorite moments was their transition from “Already Gone” to “They’re Not Horses, They’re Unicorns.” That was seamless, gentlemen. Great job. There was also a cool moment when the band brought a couple of fans onstage for a marriage proposal. Whether that’s your thing or not, I’m sure it made the the newly engaged couple very happy and I respect the band for doing something so cool for their fans.
Bayside was the highlight of the show with Senses Fail coming in a close second.
If you can’t catch them on their remaining tour dates be sure to catch them as soon as you can! You won’t want to miss anyone.