This is a review I did which is currently being syndicated on http://www.metronomereview.com/
It’s the middle of another red-hot summer, and how has Anthony Raneri chosen to spend some of his precious days off from the majorly successful band Bayside? By doing a weekend full of dates on his own, with nothing but an acoustic guitar and crowds of fans eager for the opportunity to be in a more intimate setting with the talented song writer and performer. Raneri has been known to go on these stints every once in awhile, and even designs his own separate merchandise to personally sell on the road and have closer interaction with fans.
It seems as if things could not be better for Bayside. Its fifth full length album and first major label release Killing Time came out in February has been well received by fans. The album is a less angst ridden and far more epic reflection of Raneri’s divorce with adult film star Kylie Kross. The notoriously private Raneri has opened up in this album in ways never seen in Bayside’s music before, and the same was apparent in his live solo set at Maxwell’s last Saturday in Hoboken, NJ.
Instead of the bashful and secluded Raneri Bayside fans have encountered in the past was a relaxed, cheerful, and talkative performer, delighting fans with a handful of favorites, material from the new album and unsuspected cover songs. He opened the set to a packed house in the small 200 capacity room, covering the song Suzanne by famed nerds Weezer. After the cover he related the story to the crowd that the song’s inspiration had been the band’s lawyer, and perhaps if he had as much money as Weezer, he would write a song about his lawyer too. Showcasing a humor that is usually absent from the often-hushed performer during live sets with the full band.
Through the course of the performance were a few sure crowd pleasers, the solemnDon’t Call Me Peanut off the self-titled album, the only album on which their late drummer John Beatz performed. The tragic van accident, which took place October of 2005, played a key part in bringing the band into the spotlight, as they had been marginally unknown beforehand. Raneri has always been very closed mouthed about the incident and refrained from playing the acoustic song Winter he wrote following the death. On a lighter note, in attendance was the well-known shredding guitarist Jack O’Shea, who Anthony announced upon his encore, was getting married. For the lovely couple he played Landing Feet First, the song he had written in happier times about his ex wife.
The set also included many songs from the new album, including the single Already Gone. Also played was the title track Killing Time. This was the first tour it had been played on, and Raneri admitted the night before he had forgotten some of the words. The crowd was right there to sing along with every verse, however, and the artist never faltered, not in his own songs or in the many covers he performed including Meagan by the Smoking Popes and Just To See You Smile by Tim McGraw. The sold out crowd seemed most pleased with almost anything Raneri threw at them, even a Mandy Moore cover to even out the eclectic bunch! Raneri gave a thrilling performance that challenged the likes of their impressive full band sets. When asked after the show why he comes back to play at Maxwell’s so often he responded “they have great food!”