Standing outside of The Garage in North London, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the Victoria line train you came in on was actually a time machine to 2007; the billboard outside listing upcoming gigs shows that The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Silverstein, and [spunge] will all be playing here this month.
It’s fitting then that tonight, emo legends Bayside are in town on a 10-year anniversary tour of their album, ‘The Walking Wounded’. It’s a short line-up tonight, as Bayside are supported by just one other band, California’s I The Mighty. Still, less is more, quality over quantity, and other old adages that will hopefully ring true tonight.
I The Mighty  take the stage to lukewarm applause, which doesn’t phase them one bit, as they launch straight into the eponymous track from their latest effort, ‘Where The Mind Wants To Go’, and it becomes evident that quite a few pockets of the audience are here primarily for this band. The scintillating vocals of Brent Walsh and Chris Hinkley boast incredible range, and Ian Pedigo‘s dreamy guitar work sounds every bit as good live as on record.
It’s a solid set of back-to-back jams, featuring material from throughout their decade long career, from the poppy grooves of ‘Pet Names’ and ‘Chaos In Motion’, to the arresting ‘Psychomachia’, one of the standout tracks from 2016’s ‘Connector’. The stage presence could be a bit stronger, but that’s a minor quibble considering the sheer amount of talent on display here. Don’t sleep on these guys – they’ll headline this place one day.
It’s clear who most are here to see though, as Bayside  are warmly welcomed by a swarm of fans clad in t-shirts emblazoned with their lyrics as they appear on stage. Opening with the title-track from the album that this tour is celebrating and then diving straight into ‘They’re Not Horses, They’re Unicorns’, it becomes clear that they intend to play the record in full, and, frankly, isn’t that just what you’d expect on an anniversary tour?
It’s an album that has aged very well, and, whilst these tracks don’t sound as fresh and creative as they did back in 2007, there’s a timelessness to songs like the anthemic ‘Duality’ and charming slow burner ‘Landing Feet First’ that makes the set feel nostalgic without being mawkish. The band deliver the set with such passion and charisma that even the otherwise more forgettable tracks are enjoyable.
The crowd envelop the band with a warmth and enthusiasm that is evocative of a homecoming show. Vocalist Anthony Raneri briefly muses on how long it has been since the band last played in the UK, (“Two years? Three?” he ponders), and it’s a shocking reminder of the amount of time these guys have been around.
After the run through of ‘The Walking Wounded’, the band delve into their extensive catalog for some other cuts, notably the rousing ‘Sick Sick Sick’ which inspires one of the biggest sing alongs of the night, as well as a more recent track in the form of the uplifting ‘Mary’, taken from 2016’s ‘Vacancy’, proving that Bayside still have it in them to write one hell of a catchy chorus.
Whether you’re a lifelong fan or seeing them for the very first time, tonight feels like a welcoming home of old friends, and, if you weren’t already an ardent advocate for the emo revival, you find that you are by the time that you leave.
Written by Lottie Cook (@pixelottie)