Those passing by the long line of folks waiting for the doors to open at the Grog Shop in Cleveland Heights’ Coventry Village last night (Saturday; 01.15.11) shot condescending looks at the dedicated folks braving the cold temperatures. But those waiting were warmed by the idea that they would have a good spot in the intimate venue to catch a lineup full of great music. Once the doors opened, fans filed quickly into the Grog Shop, a small venue with walls heavily covered in flyers, graffiti, and stickers.
After openers Call It Fiction finished their short set, a newcomer to the alt rock scene, Terrible Things is composed of veteran members Fred Mascherino (Taking Back Sunday) on guitar and vocals, Hot Rod Circuit’s Andy Jackson on rhythm guitars, Brian Weaver (formerly of Silvertide) on bass, and Coheed and Cambria alumnus Josh Eppard on drums. The supergroup has become road warriors in support of their self-titled debut (8.31.10; Universal Motown), a concept album about the arson that ravaged more than 40 homes in Mascherino’s hometown of Coatesville, PA. The members’ combined experience, talent, and a twist of style creates something truly awesome. The crowd seemed unappreciative of the solid performance as they somewhat impatiently awaited the night’s headliner, Bayside. Terrible Things tore through the album’s title track and “Wrap Me Up” flawlessly. Each of the band’s members bring their own personality into the performance, but none shined brighter than Eppard’s drumming. His skillful timing and dead on striking kept the beat resonating in one’s ears, bringing Coheed and Cambria fans back to the band’s early years. Having toured together before with their former bands, Eppard and Mascherino have a mutual respect for each other and have a great chemistry between them. Supergroups often are short lived, as members tend to move on to other projects or return to their former groups. Let’s hope Terrible Things stay around for awhile.
Fronted by Douglas Robinson, The Sleeping took the stage after an intermission. I last saw the group three years ago in Jacksonville, and while they put on a hell of a show then, I was skeptical of hearing how the band has progressed over the past few years, especially since I failed to do my homework and give their new release, ‘The Big Deep’ (09.28.10; Victory Records) a spin. The 5-piece from Long Island ripped into “Loud and Clear” from 2006’s ‘Questions and Answers’ and I was instantly reminded of why I have such good memories of the last time I saw these guys. The piercing guitar work of Paul Cadena kept everyone’s eyes on the stage while Robinson thrashed around and head banged so hard it was difficult to believe he didn’t pass out. The energetic frontman hit almost every note with precision. Taunting fans into starting a circle pit, Robinson had the previously dreary crowd by the balls and had no intention of letting go. Continuing with several songs from ‘The Big Deep,’ the band showed they are in top shape; exhibiting no sign of fatigue. After thanking the crowd and the other bands on the tour, they exited the stage and left the crowd yelling with appreciation and tingling with excitement.
With instruments pre-tuned, Anthony Raneri and the rest of the boys from Bayside hit the stage, and were ready to rock one of the best shows I have ever seen at the Grog Shop. With no disrespect to the other solid bands on the bill, Bayside took the show to a level far above the music from earlier in the night. Between Raneri’s radiating voice and supporting guitar work from Jack O’Shea, it doesn’t get much better than this. The crowd surged with the music with everyone trying to get closer to the stage, hoping for a better view and perhaps a high-five from a band member. The whole crowd was consumed by Bayside as they dissected their records, playing fan favorites including “Duality,” “Masterpiece,” and “Blame It on Bad Luck.” Bayside previewed some tracks, including the single “Sick, Sick, Sick” from their forthcoming fifth full length album, ‘Killing Time,’ due out February 22nd on Wind-Up Records. The band exited the stage, not fooling anyone in the crowd, knowing an encore was coming. A surprise move by Bayside, they played a cover of Weezer’s “My Name Is Jonas,” sending the crowd into a frenzy. Their version of this tune was a perfect fit for Raneri’s range and is honestly one of the coolest covers I have ever experienced. Closing out their set with the hit single, “Devotion and Desire” left the crowd in awe as many rushed to the merch table to gladly plop down some cash to support the band and take home a souvenir. While celebrating their 10th year on tour, Bayside solidified themselves as an icon in the modern punk rock and alternative scene with their display of never ending talent and dedication to their music. With the album release set for just over a month from now, we will hopefully be seeing the guys from Queens, New York very soon.