Bayside Brings Great American Cult Tour to Carrboro, NC 4-1-14 with Four Year Strong, Superheaven, & Mixtapes

In support of their  newest album, Cult,  a Queens,NY based band, took to the road in early March for the Great American Cult Tour.  Along for the journey were Mixtapes, Superheaven (formerly known as Daylight, and Four Year Strong.  After stopping at a list of major cities across the country, on Tuesday April 1st Cats Cradle in Carrboro, NC was buzzing in anticipation as they were the next stop on the tour.

Their first opener was Ohio pop-punk band Mixtapes.  Featured on this year’s Vans Warped Tour the popular band looks to reach an even broader audience with their entertaining stage performance. The band took to the stage of Cats Cradle like lightening and were pretty hard to keep track of as they bounced from one side of the stage to the other. Mixtapes has an acute ability to stir up certain emotions in their audience, due to the content of their lyrics and the intensity with which they perform. It is as if they are reliving the very experiences of homesickness and self-doubt that play out so often in their songs.

They surprised and delighted the audience when they played the rare cut  “Puzzle Parts 2” from their Vision Quest split EP with Broadway Calls. They hardly ever play the song live, and many regard it as one of their strongest, exemplifying what is so captivating about the band: the raw, almost confessional nature of the songs, and the ways they each cope, with tongue-in-cheek humor and hope as resilient and defiant as the sun.

The band was in good spirits, grinning a lot and joking around with each other. Their final song was “Mt. Hope”, off their Even on the Worst Nights (2012) album, which featured Dan Campbell from the Wonder Years.  With lines like “And the songs that made us lose our voices…those songs can take us home”, it’s easy to see why “Mt. Hope” is a crowd favorite and ended the performance on a high note.

Doylestown, PA band Superheaven were up next.  After officially changing their name from Daylight due to legal issues, the band looks to the future and assure fans they will still remain the same band with the same message as before the name change.

With tons of energy Superheaven  had everyone bobbing their head throughout the whole set. They seemed to have stepped right out of the 1990’s, with long hair obscuring their faces and rough vocals accompanying rougher lyrics. The band has really hit their stride in the five years they have been a band, and that night at Cats Cradle they really showed it. Their songs are fuzzy in a Smashing Pumpkins-esque way, and so vastly guitar-driven that the music sometimes overshadows the strong vocals of Taylor Madison and Jake Clarke. Regardless, their energy was contagious, and their performance certainly converted many new fans.  There debut album Jars is out now and worth adding to your collection.

Hailing from Worcester, MA Four Year Strong has successfully blended pop-punk and hardcore-punk together since 2001.  Having spent extensive amounts of time touring with the likes of  The Starting Line, New Found Glory, among others, the band has built a strong passionate fan base in that time.

Their set ushered in an intense rise of the energy in the room, and the emergence of the show’s first crowd-surfers. The floor shook as the crowd shouted along to Four Year Strong’s signature brand of intensely catchy punk, the crowd a sea of waving arms and pointing fingers. The band played mostly cuts from their widely-acclaimed Enemy of the World (2010), every song on their setlist of ten powerful and gripping.  The band and the crowd really vibed off each other; you could see it in the light in every pair of eyes and hear it in every shout.  If you missed them on this run, be sure to catch them on this summer’s Vans Warped Tour.

The time had finally arrived for main act Bayside to take the stage.  Their new album Cult is a raucous piece, complementary to the rest of Bayside discography, but also a step in a bigger, wiser direction.  This clear and present truth was felt among the audience as they anxiously awaited four-piece band to hit the stage.

From the moment they walked out in front of the packed crowd at Cats Cradle, lead vocalist Anthony Raneri hardly went a second without smiling. It was so clear that they all adored performing, approaching it with the same cleared-eyed ferocity they tackle anything. When Raneri was not singing, the crowd was filling the empty space, or bassist Nick Ghanbarian was shouting out to the audience. There was not a moment of silence or stillness, just pure manic energy.

Something that is wonderful about Bayside is how they gave allowed their fourteen years as a band to strengthen them. With six albums and many world tours under their belts, they still perform with the joy of teenagers and the level of skill that’s earned them such high regard in this scene. Even songs they wrote nearly a decade ago, like “Duality” and “Montauk” were played with the enthusiasm of a band coming straight from the studio, as if they were freshly written and recorded.

Being the supporting tour for Cult, the new album was definitely given its due justice on the set list, but it did not dominate the night. They embraced their older material with gusto, working the crowd expertly. Drummer Chris Guglielmo pounded his drum kit, dripping sweat along with the rest of them. Raneri let them all take a break when he played “Don’t Call Me Peanut” solo on his acoustic guitar. The song was intimate and rousing, the crowd swaying, waving, and singing louder than his impassioned shouts.

The encore was a great mix of three songs from all over the map — one from 2008, one from 2014, and one from 2005 — a combination that pleased everyone in the room. The crowd erupted, showing their appreciation in their crowd-surfing and collective voice. Bayside left Cats Cradle with their ears ringing, eager for another intense night.  With the band now headed overseas for a series of dates, they will be returning back stateside for the Vans Warped Tour which is not to be missed.

Review and photos by Eliana Siegal

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