New Found Glory Down By The Bayside (...In Des Moines,,,?)
The People's Court; Des Moines, IA; April 19, 2009
by Paul Hanson
To be clear, there was a fourth band on the bill this night, but due to driving an hour and a half to get to the show, I missed them, arriving instead towards the end of the energetic set by Set Your Goals. With a lot of dual vocals and a drummer with a huge tattoo across his bare chest, SYG was good. I was only familiar with one of their songs “Mutiny,” so when they launched into it, I was able to compare their recordings with a live reproduction. Not bad. The best thing SYG has going for them is their energy. They pogoed around the stage, hitting their guitars and singing their lyrics. Given more experience with their material, I am sure I would have appreciated them more than I did with my limited exposure.
Bayside (seen at right) stormed the stage next and played eleven songs. They were the band I really wanted to see, and I was not disappointed. They played all the songs I wanted to hear, except “No One Understands,” “I and I,” and anything acoustic. Their set included a lot of the songs that were on their recent live album Live At The Bayside Social Club, so I wasn't especially surprised with the songs they chose to play. They played “Masterpeace,” “Montauk,” “Duality,” “Boy,” and “The Walking Wounded.” Between songs, the charismatic Anthony Raneri announced that they were going to be on the Vans Warped tour. He then asked if the tour came to Iowa. There was a lot of shouts of “No!” in the air. He then asked where do you go? He looked somewhat perplexed before smiling and saying, “I can't understand you.”
With that, the band launched into their next song. When the first chord of “Blame It On Bad Luck” was strummed, there was a huge reaction from the crowd. The audience knew the words to their best song and when Raneri began to sing, it was a duet with the crowd. As they started it, I told my friend that this was their best song. The guy standing next to me heard me and nodded enthusiastically. “Devotion And Desire” closed out the set, and having that song follow “Blame it on Bad Luck” was an excellent choice as that made their set end very strong. “Devotion And Desire” got as much of a reaction as “Luck.” There were shouts for “One more song! One more song!” but the roadies had already started to tear down the drumset and move amps around.
Headliners New Found Glory hit the stage next. Apparently, I live under a rock because this band is legendary – if you trust the Internet. They have been around “forever” and have rocked audiences around the world, just like Green Day and Blink 182. Given their credentials and my lack of intimate knowledge of their material, I would give them a B. Their musicianship cannot be questioned and everything sounded tight. They had a lot of energy. The lead singer jumped into the crowd and held the mic in front of audience members but, well, that's been done before so it wasn't anything especially new or exciting. The guitarist spoke frequently to the audience with a lot of “Thank you for supporting us. If it wasn't for you, we would not be able to do what we love.” He acknowledged that he was repeating himself when he repeated what he had said nearly verbatim later. I think it was sincere as it wasn't the typical “We love you [insert town name]!” type of commentary that bands seem to say all the time. I did learn that their bassist called the singer 47 times to ask to join the band and then they decided to write a song called “47” about it. They played that song.
I walked out of the venue convinced I need to investigate New Found Glory’s material more and I would encourage you to do the same. It was a short night but tremendously worth my effort. The bands on this bill could easily take on the commercialized “punk” of bands you hear on the radio such as Green Day and Offspring. I’m not dissing bands that have achieved commercial success – I just feel the need to encourage you to check out bands that have not achieved commercial success such as Set Your Goals and Bayside.