Bayside Senses Fail Man Overboard Seaway Tuesday, March 17, 2015 Wonder Ballroom 503-284-8686 128 NE Russell St, Portland, OR 7:30pm (doors open at 7pm). All Ages. $17.00 advance tix from Ticketfly. $20.00 at the door. ABOUT BAYSIDE-- Bayside lead singer/rhythm guitarist and founding member Anthony Raneri has been waiting 10 years--since he formed the rock group in Queens, N.Y. in the winter of 2000--to make an album like Killing Time, which represents a number of firsts for the band named after his hometown. The album is the band's debut for new label Wind-up Records after four releases on Chicago-based indie Victory Records, including Sirens and Condolences (2004), Bayside (2005), The Walking Wounded (2007) and Shudder (2008), steadily growing their following through tireless touring. Recording their latest at Dreamland Studios in Woodstock, N.Y., and Water Music in Hoboken, N.J., with renowned producer Gil Norton [Foo Fighters, Counting Crows, Pixies, Jimmy Eat World], Bayside finally had the time and resources to fulfill their creative vision. The group turns Raneri's acoustic songs into full-blown, deceptively complex rock epics that touch on bitter endings (like that of his marriage on the first single, "Sick, Sick, Sick," and the angry, full-throttle rocker "The Wrong Way"), fresh starts ("The New Flesh"), band camaraderie ("It's Not a Bad Little War," "Sinking and Swimming on Long Island") and even a hopeful ballad, complete with a 20-piece orchestra and a horn section ("On Love, On Life"). "This is a new chapter, a new beginning for us," acknowledges guitarist Jack O'Shea, who joined the band in 2003 and has played on all five of their albums. "This feels like our debut release. Gil really encouraged us to push the boundaries of what we do, and not to become timid. Having that kind of encouragement from someone so accomplished really gave us the confi dence to be more creative." One can hear that in O'Shea's various guitar sounds, from the Dick Dale/Link Wray surf guitar rumble which opens "Already Gone," to the gnarled, twisted solos in "Sick Sick, Sick" and "It's Not a Bad Little War," to the pneumatic rush of "Sinking and Swimming on Long Island" or the frenetic jam that ends "The Wrong Way." "We wanted to make a big, detailed record, but still retain the pop sensibility that makes us who we are," states Raneri about the studio process. "Gil helped us stay on an aggressive rock track without losing sight of the music's commercial appeal, its ability to get on the radio. To achieve that balance was the plan." For Bayside, the rest of its career leading to this moment feels like Killing Time, according to Raneri. "We had the time, the producer, the label to support it and fans who are ready to hear it. Everything was in place for us to make our masterpiece." Indeed, Killing Time takes everything Bayside has learned in its decade in the music business and puts it on display for all to hear. On "Mona Lisa," another song Raneri wrote about his ex("Someday, I'll forgive you/But it still hasn't happened yet"), he tried an experiment in writing. "I half-jokingly call it my greatest accomplishment," he laughs. "It was an attempt to write a song with as many chromatic key changes in it as possible, without it sounding like mathematics. I was sure it would never make the album, but everyone seemed to love it." There are also glimpses of the hard road Bayside has traveled to this point in "It's Not a Bad Little War," a song about being on the front lines and trenches with your bandmates ("We are the only friends we ever had"), and "Sinking and Swimming on Long Island," about all the ones that got left behind ("The harder you work/The harder you fall/You wake up one day/With nothing at all"). "Seeing Sound" has an operatic, almost Queen-like vibe, refl ecting Raneri's own love of Broadway show tunes, while the dramatic "On Love, On Life," is driven by piano and acoustic guitar, with pop tunesmiths Bacharach and David and Welsh crooner Tom Jones as the touchstones. The title track shows off the band's metal chops, with ominous Blue Oyster Cult overtones. "I really think this album has the best elements of all our previous releases," says O'Shea, whose own guitar heroes include metal speedsters like Metallica's Kirk Hammett and Megadeth's Dave Mustaine as well as Slash, along with such jazz-rock muses as Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Allan Holdsworth, Al DiMelola and John McLaughlin. "It's the most representative of what we've always gone for as a band. It encompasses what our fans like best about us." With 10 songs weighing in at 38 minutes, there is no filler on Killing Time, an album, while not a concept, with songs that are organically connected and of a piece, like Green Day's American Idiot or Nirvana's Nevermind. "We were trying to make the perfect album," says Anthony. "We've been trying to make this record for 10 years. We finally had all the elements we needed to do it. We wanted these to be the 10 best songs we've ever written." "Now I don't ask for much/But this could define a lifetime" - "It's Not a Bad Little War" "Everything has been leading up until right now," says Anthony. "Killing Time is about new beginnings, changes. This is our moment, the album we were supposed to make. A lot of bands that came up with us, we've watched form, get signed, get huge and then disappear. And we're still here... People continue to listen and care. We're living the dream." On Killing Time, that dream becomes reality. "We're all just excited about the possibilities of what the next year holds for us," concludes Jack. "We've always approached our career with a cautious optimism. We hope for the best, but we're OK with whatever happens. We roll with the punches... but this time it all seems so much more tangible." ABOUT SENSES FAIL-- Listening to a new Senses Fail album is a lot like reconnecting with an old friend--although there's a comforting, indefinable familiarity within all of the New Jersey-based post-hardcore quintet's records, each new creation is a fleeting snapshot of the lives of its makers, indelibly capturing the things that meant the most during your mutual time apart. The band's third full-length release, Life Is Not A Waiting Room, is no exception. Having the unenviable task of following 2006's crushing Still Searching, the album showcases the face-melting musicianship and soul-baring lyricism that define Senses Fail. Once again produced by helmsman Brian McTernan (Thrice, Circa Survive) and recorded in Baltimore, MD, at his Salad Days studio, Life boasts a towering sound akin to a roundhouse kick to the skull. "This is the most fun we've ever had as a band," says singer James "Buddy" Nielsen. "I think we were feeling a lot less pressure this time around, but you've always got to do your best." The New Jersey-based group formed six years ago and released their debut EP, From the Depths of Dreams, in 2002. 2004's Let It Enfold You--their first full-length--was followed by Still Searching, which debuted at 15 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. To date, Senses Fail have performed multiple worldwide tours and their catalog sales have reached over 850,000, yet the band continue to evolve. Although in many ways Life picks up seamlessly where Searching left off, the new album has very distinct, unique qualities, most notably its lyrical content. While Searching wrestled with issues regarding religion and depression, Life is centered squarely on a crumbling relationship, and the desire to see meaningful change. "A lot of this record is written about the recent break up I had with a long-time girlfriend, the first person I have ever been in love with, and someone I spent a lot of time and shared my transition from kid to adult," explains Nielsen. "The other elements of the record consist of regrets and how they can leave a burning hole in your soul; how the past is something you can't change....There are also bright moments where I find myself coming to terms with those very facts, and in knowing the problem you can then be proactive and change." Life also marks the addition of new bassist Jason Black (formerly of Hot Water Music), who replaces the departed Mike Glita. Meanwhile, guitarists Garrett Zablocki and Heath Saraceno (formerly of Midtown) have grown into one of the most scorching six-string tandems around; Life features more of the nimble harmonies showcased on Searching, but this time the duo took it one step further, with some truly shred-a-riffic leads, such as those heard on "Lungs Like Gallows" and "Garden State." Another rocker, "Wolves At The Door," was so intense that it even garnered a coveted spot within the soundtrack for the best-selling Madden NFL '09 video game. Kicking off with the rich, moody "Fireworks At Dawn," Life roars and pummels its way through the album's 12 tracks without the slightest pause for filler, delivering an absolute haymaker just four tracks in with "Family Tradition," which features the band's signature blend of dark and melodic. Nielsen's words are as insightful as they are meaningful. "I find myself at times doing things to live up to other peoples' expectations, or cutting myself down because I assume that will make me look more humble to the world," says Nielsen. "So this song is one part a reaction to that, and also about following the footsteps of a family member you don't really know, but who has had a huge influence on you." Perhaps the most heart-wrenching moments of all come via the two-part song cycle of "Yellow Angels" and "Four Years," which were inspired by a terminally ill fan named Marcel, who befriended Nielsen at an SF show in Dallas, TX. Nielsen remained in contact with the 18-year-old, who was stricken with cancer of the soft tissue of his face, and endured many painful surgeries and treatments in order to attempt to fend off tumors that were growing in vital areas such as his eyes, nose and throat. When Marcel's mother notified Nielsen of her son's worsening condition, the singer flew to Texas, where he spent a great deal of time with this incredibly courageous young man, during the final days of his tragically short life. "It was one of the most intense and stirring times in my life. The sheer pain this 18-year-old boy was in was mind blowing, yet his optimistic outlook and sense of humor was steadfast," Nielsen recalls. "This kid changed my life and although he is no longer with us, he lives on everyday in the pictures I took with him, to remind myself that life is never as bad as you think it is. So 'Yellow Angels' is my reaction to meeting Marcel and how I needed to live in the moment and love myself and life. 'Four Years,' on the other hand, is about being influenced by such a life-changing [experience] and having to make new decisions about my relationship and what it really was." The album's title is a succinct, encapsulating statement as to its thematic thrust. Life Is Not A Waiting Room is just as much revelation as it is reflection; the sum total of every ounce of pain, fear, hope and joy that the record exudes. "I felt I had been living as if I was waiting for something to happen, but I know that is the wrong way to live--it just doesn't promote any sort of happiness," Nielsen concludes. "The title sums up the direction I want to go in, and what I want to get away from, and it's a cry to everyone else to stop living like I have." Just like the rest of us, Nielsen's struggle is far from over. But one thing is certain: SF have once again delivered their message with both passion and fury. All one has to do is listen with their ears and heart open--just as an old friend would. ABOUT MAN OVERBOARD-- New Jersey-based emo-pop players Man Overboard carry the flame of melodic, energetic, hardcore-influenced Garden State bands like Lifetime and Midtown. Founded in 2008 by childhood friends Nik Bruzzese (vocals/bass) and Wayne Wildrick (guitar), the pair began writing at Bruzzese's studio, bringing Zac Eiestenstein (vocals/guitar) and Justin Mondschein (drums) into the fold to record debut EP Hung Up on Nothing. Signing to Run for Cover the following year, the band offered a second EP, Dahlia. In 2010, Man Overboard fired on all cylinders, releasing the acoustic EP Noise from Upstairs as well as studio album debut Real Talk and a self-released live recording. The band also faced lineup changes that year -- Wildrick left the band for personal reasons and Justin Collier filled in on guitar duty, making way for new drummer Mike Hrycenko -- but came back big by joining the Rise Records roster. By spring 2011, Wildrick rejoined the band, as they recorded a self-titled sophomore album and hit the road on the Pop Punk's Not Dead tour alongside New Found Glory that fall. Adding to the momentum, Man Overboard, released that September, landed on the Billboard 200, Top Hard Rock Albums, and Top Independent Albums charts. Drummer Joe Talarico replaced Mondschein for the group's third album, Heart Attack, which was released in 2013.