Bayside at Brooklyn Bowl in Nashville, TN

Bayside @ Brooklyn Bowl, Nashville | Photo by Zach Birdsong

Saturday night offered emo rock fans a trip down nostalgia lane, as Bayside brought their 21 Years of Really Bad Luck Tour to Music City. 

While most of the tour focused on the past, up-and-coming punk rockers, The Bombpops, got the night started with a fun and lively 30-minute performance. The band made the most of their time on the stage and managed to play 10 songs during their performance.

The majority of the Nashville fans on hand were unfamiliar with the Southern California-based rockers. Even still, the early crowd on hand approved, nodding along, and tried to sing along with the chorus when they could pin down the lyrics. 

“You’re going back in time,” joked lead singer Jen Razavi. “Emo… it’s definitely not a phase.”  

That final statement by Razavi proved to be more than just a quip. Instead, it seemed to be a mantra for Saturday night, particularly one that Hawthrone Heights embraced during their 30-minute set. “We just wanted to prove to your parents that emo is not just a phase,” the group’s lead singer J.T. Woodruff told the Brooklyn Bowl crowd.

That seemed to signal how the rest of the night would go, as most of Hawthorne Heights’ setlist featured the band’s earlier work. In fact, five of the seven tracks that the group performed were from their first two albums, the second of which was released in early 2006. The fans embraced those early emo-rock songs, and even one fan screamed, “We need Hawthrone Heights more than ever.” While it was cathartic for the crowd, Saturday was also a sweet release for the band on stage. “We only have three and a half minutes left, and let’s make the best of it,” Woodruff said. “It’s been such a long year and a half that I hope none of you are taking any of this for granted. It’s such a special night, and we love you for it.” With that statement made, Hawthorne Heights went straight to their highest charting song, “Ohio Is For Lovers,” and the Nashville crowd was deafening, singing along every word to the tune.

Before Senses Fail took the stage, fans were engaged in an emo singalong, as several popular songs made their way onto the venue’s music choice. So, naturally, the post-hardcore rockers had to keep that going and walked on stage to Wilson Phillip’s “Hold On.” That seemed to set the tone for the remainder of the set. Once gracing the stage, the New Jersey-based band put together a playful 45-minute set that was loved by the fans. 

Lead singer Buddy Neilsen captured the audience from the moment that he joined on stage. Once joining his bandmates, Nielsen jumped around, performed kicks, and swung the microphone around with precision. 

Senses Fail closed out their set with fan-favorite “Bite To Break Skin,” but they added a fun twist toward the track’s ending. Before the final chorus, the band performed the intros to Disturbed’s “Down With The Sickness,” Limp Bizkit’s “Break Stuff,” and Rage Against The Machine’s “Bulls on Parade.” The group swiftly followed that with the conclusion of the original song before waving goodbye to fans. 

Bayside took the stage to an enormous ovation from the crowd and immediately got their 17-song setlist underway. While making sure to hit all of the fan favorites, the New York rockers also uncovered some older tracks that spanned the band’s illustrious career. “We are celebrating 21 years as a band, and we wanted to do something a little different this tour,” said singer Anthony Rameri. “We wanted to play a song from every record, at least one song from every record.” 

It was the acoustic performances that seemed to engage the most reaction from the audience. A little over midway through the set, Rameri joined guitarist Jack O’Shea for a laid-back rendition of “Don’t Call Me Peanut” that had the majority of the fans singing along with it. 

After returning for an encore, Bayside went deep into their library, performing “Winter.” While it was a deeper dive for some onhand, hardcore fans of the band made sure to bellow out every word to the tune. Bayside closed out the night with one of their songs, “Devotion and Desire.” As the audience exited Brooklyn Bowl, some of the band’s biggest fans left with tears in their eyes, happy after seeing one of their favorite groups. 

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About Zach Birdsong 15 Articles
A current communications specialist with a background in journalism, where he served as a multiple award-winning newspaper editor, photographer and designer. In eight years, he received 18 awards from the Tennessee Press Association, the majority of which stems from his photography. He's also been fortunate enough to have had photos used by publications around the world including Rolling Stone, People Magazine, The Today Show, Vanity Fair, Vogue Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and more.