Bayside, The Menzingers, and Sorority Noise at the Santa Ana Observatory on September 6th, 2016
The air in the Observatory on Tuesday was buzzing with energy, and with one look at the lineup, you could tell why. What a perfect intersection of alternative rock with beautiful flourishes of punk and emo. The only way you could get more angst that night was to head to Echo Park's monthly "Emo Night" right afterward. That just so happens to be where Anthony Raneri (lead singer of Bayside) went to guest DJ after his set, but it must have been the energy of the Santa Ana crowd that got him to zoom down there in the first place. If you're not familiar with the openers of the show, definitely check out Sorority Noise, if you are a fan of Modern Baseball. Much to the chagrin of their front-man Cameron Boucher, they fit well into that brand of emo. One of the lyrics of their song "Art School Wannabe" is "maybe I'm my own greatest fan;" But if Santa Ana is any indication, they'll find some good competition on tour. The Menzingers were up next, and not a soul in the crowd was having a horrible time (that's the last one, I promise). The mellow punk energy they brought to the stage got the people in the center standing room to throw hands to the sky, belting "Obituaries" with arms over each others' shoulders. There's a beauty to the camaraderie that can be felt in an audience while you're screaming your lungs out together. Guitarist and singer Tom May was perfectly indicative of that sense of nirvana, bouncing and dipping all across the stage, strumming and singing all the way. When the lights went out to prepare for Bayside, the drumset and stage glowed a bright red, with a silhouette of their bird logo on the bass drum. The theme of Netflix's "Stranger Things" played as the band walked out, perfectly epitomizing the set they were about to play (and also giving a hint about what to expect in merch). While the show combined a good dash of nostalgia with contemporary elements, the band was fully set to do the same. Their new album "Vacancy" dropped less than a month ago, so naturally they tore up the scenery with all-new and very well-received songs. But in between their new stuff, they really dug into the old gems. Anthony prefaced this at one point, asking how far back they should play. "Should we play something 5 years old, or 10 years old," he asked, before settling on what he deemed "really old." If you hadn't known anything about them before that show, you'd have never guessed they'd been playing for upwards of 12 years. The presence they maintained on stage was fun and dynamic, and they really knew what their audience liked. No moment was more telling of that than when they covered "Mr. Brightside" by the Killers and the audience was all cell phones to record it.
Photos and Words by Adam Cox