July 30, 2014 Taking Back Sunday & Circa Survive lead Great South Bay Music Festival Patchogue, NY 7-18-14
The Great South Bay Music Festival is an evolving and growing festival taking place for many years now at Shorefront Park in Patchogue, NY on the south shore of Long Island. Originally established as a Irish music festival, eight years ago the inclusion of emerging local jazz, rock, blues, and folk artists helped the event grow into a three day cultural experience for all ages. Continuing to blossom in popularity, 2013 featured Long Island locals Patent Pending as well as classic rock bands The Doobie Brothers and Billy Squier. Now in 2014 the festival has seen rapid and bold growth, landing huge names Taking Back Sunday, Circa Survive, MOE and BB King. Having begin on Friday July 18th and concluding on Sunday July 20th, the festival had a record breaking turn out of over 5,000 attendees on opening night as many came out to see the young national rock acts mixed in with local talents.
With a total of thirteen bands scattered about three stages, Wantagh-based Count To Ten kicked off the main Blue Point Brews Stage. Signed to indie label Airgo Management the group is made up Jon Zaitz (lead vocals), Dan Wolf (vocals/guitar), Alex DeSalvo (guitar), and John Gallo (bass) played songs off their newest EP as well as a cover of Bowling for Soup’s “1985”. Despite still being in high school they confidently took the stage and seemed to have a blast. If this is what the group is achieving now just think of where they could be in the future!
NGHBRS took the Blue Point Brews Stage next also hailing from Long Island with a unique setup and an energetic, entertaining set. The drum kit for the group was displayed on the side of the stage as opposed to behind the band which seemed to be a perfect fit because Jordan Schneider was one of the most lively and happy drummers of the day. Rounded out with Ian Kenny (vocal), Tommy Fleischmann (guitar) and Eric Vivelo (bass) the band played songs such as single “Hold Up Girl” from their latest album Twenty One Rooms (2013).
By the time Doylestown, PA’s Balance and Composure took the Blue Point Brews stage the crowd had grown significantly. Spending time on tour with acts such as Coheed and Cambria, the band’s popularity continues to reach new heights. Playing a great mix of their newer and older songs they really had the crowd engaged from start to finish. Frontman Jon Simmons playfully even told the crowd that security wanted all of them to crowd surf. With their heavy and emotional sound the band certainly excited all who gathered to witness their set. Their latest album The Thinking We Think We’re Missing (2013) is out now.
Over at the Clamshell Bandshell stage Brooklyn-based Elliot and the Ghost were next. Opening for Weezer at a sold-out show back in November 2013 at The Paramount has had many Long Islanders buzzing for more of this three-piece rock band. Playing a great set of their music to fans mixed in with friends and family there was a positive vibe flowing with many cheering along. The band clearly has the backing and growing support and that will help carry them as they progress and grow as a group.
With the evening wearing on direct support for the Blue Point Brews Stage was heavy hitters Circa Survive. Also from Doylestown, PA the band has electrified audiences for over a decade. With emotionally drenched instrumentation and singing, their hard work was rewarded back in 2013 with a opening slot on the mainstage of the Rockstar Energy Drink Uproar Festival. Led by former Saosin vocalist, Anthony Green along with guitarist Colin Frangicetto, guitarist Brendan Ekstrom, bassist Nick Beard, and drummer Steve Clifford, the band clearly drew the biggest crowd up to that point in the night.
Performing tracks like “The Lottery”, “Strange Terrain”, “Holding Someone’s Hair Back” and “Glass Arrows” Green captivated the audience and commanded the stage along with the rest of the band. As a family man with two sons and a third child on the way, Green joked about his wife’s pregnancy, putting a beach ball under his shirt and asking the crowd who he was. The crowd cheered consistently until the end of the show as other songs such as “Get Out”, “In Fear and Faith”, and favorite “Act Appalled” closed out the night. Their 2012 album Violent Waves continues to make impressions and is a must listen.
With the evening winding down, Taking Back Sunday was ready to close out an exciting opening night of The Great South Bay Festival in front of an extremely eager crowd. With so much anticipation on the ground to see these local heroes headline the show, the fact that this was their final Long Island appearance of 2014 had everyone ready to explode. Always staying true to their local stomping ground and in the midst of their tour in support of their new album, Happiness Is, the band had played a special acoustic performance back in April at Revolution in Amityville. Now it was time for one rocking performance with friends, family, and dedicated supporters from the better part of their fifteen year career to date.
Wasting no time they opened their set with a few very popular and well loved songs including, “Liar (It Takes One to Know One)“. Frontman Adam Lazzara commented during the set that they have been trying to tour with Circa Survive for years so it was a great pleasure to share the stage with them. He also told the crowd how thrilled the band was with the turnout as it well exceeded their expectations.
Inspired and enthusiastic, the band mixed in a fantastic offering of new and old favorites including “Number Five with the Bullet” and “Better Homes and Gardens”. Keeping the set balanced, they included newer songs as well as the mellower piece “Flicker, Fade”. With the crowd singing and jumping with their hands in the air, the scene was spectacular and showed how dearly their hometown loves this band. This was clearly a historic night for The Great South Bay Festival and set the ceiling extremely high for the remaining two days.
Catch coverage of the Great South Bay Music Festival July 20th below: