Bayside Rocks Chicago’s House of Blues with 21-Song Set, Proving Emo Is Here to Stay

Chicago's House of Blues Hosts Bayside's Electrifying 'The Worse Things Than Being Alive' Tour...

Words and Photos: Kyle Mueller

 

House of Blues in Chicago has hosted countless acts and tours. On April 29th, 2024, it was the venue for Bayside’s “The Worse Things Than Being Alive” tour.

Winona Fighter

Winona Fighter took center stage first on a night featuring four bands. Coco came out with the energy of a lion. Bullhorn in hand, she dug deep to raise the Monday night crowd to her level. Guitarist Dan Fuson and bassist Austin Luthor held their own as she used them like wrestling ring ropes to propel herself across the stage. Her booming vocals and punk attitude left everyone buzzing for more after their short set concluded.

Armor for Sleep

After a few years of disbandments and reunions, Armor for Sleep seems to be back for the long run. Playing their set in almost complete darkness, lead vocalist Ben Jorgensen sounds like he’s in his prime. With only seven songs for their set, they played all the classics from the early to mid-2000s. One song, “In This Nightmare Together”, is from their 2022 album “The Rain Museum”, which is their latest release to date. Hopefully, with the resurgence of the “emo” genre, we can expect more new music and live shows in the future.

Finch

Speaking of the “emo” resurgence, 2023 saw the return of Finch. Returning to the House of Blues, this time in support, they brought their A-game. Starting off their set with a new song, “Rainy Day”, it’s the first new song we’ve heard from them in a decade.

Nate Barcalow’s vocals have never sounded better since their return. His screams are top-notch, and they don’t compromise any of his singing abilities as the set goes on. This show also saw the return of rhythm guitarist Alex “Grizz” Linares, who was away from the tour for a few stops. Lead guitarist Randy “R2K” Strohmeyer led the way with his impressive playing and clean backing vocals.

Finishing their set with arguably their most popular song, “What It Is To Burn”, Finch left us all wanting and waiting for more from them.

Bayside

Bayside waited offstage while we listened to their intro, Frank Sinatra’s “My Way”. The punk band from Queens kicked off the set with “Pigsty”, “Montauk”, and “How To Ruin Everything (Patience)” before stopping to greet everyone.

No strangers to the scene, the Bayside crowd was alive and roaring along to each song. All night, everyone onstage mentioned how it’s Monday night and usually a snoozefest, but not for these fans. They got 21 songs, spanning all eight of Bayside’s discography. There was a little bit of everything for everyone.

And the band themselves just crushed it. Veterans at this point, they continue to be a phenomenal live band. Anthony Raneri’s unique vocals are on par with some of the best in the genre. When you hear him sing, you KNOW it’s him. Bassist and hype man Nick Ghanbarian was everywhere on his side of the stage, his feet barely touching the ground as he kept the energy high. Jack O’Shea, lead guitarist, didn’t miss a chord all night and slayed every solo.

Emo is alive and well, and a few powerhouses of the genre showed why in one of Chicago’s most popular venues.

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