If you go
When: 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5
Where: Chameleon Club, 223 N. Water St., Lancaster
Cost: $15 to $18
Details: Get tickets by calling 717-299-9684 or visiting www.chameleonclub.net .
Bayside isn't the type of band that frequently changes up its set lists over the course of a tour.
"We love tailoring stuff and working on transitions from song to song, making the whole set flow, like kind of creating the set list with a purpose, singer/guitarist Anthony Raneri explained in a recent phone interview. "Some bands change their set lists every day. We really kind of come up with a set that we love and that's it. We think of it as a show. We're putting on a performance. In a play, they don't change the dialog every day. So we come up with a show we think is engaging, and then that's the show."
That approach fits for a band that hasn't been interested in evolving its sound in any major ways from album to album. Instead, as Raneri explained, the goal with each of the group's six studio albums has been to try to make a better version of itself.
"I think it tells in our records, that we're a band that doesn't get tired of ourselves," he said. "We like our music. We like our style. So I think it shows in our records, we never really stray much from our sound. We know our sound, we love our sound. We just want to get better at it."
In the case of the band's latest album, "Cult," chief songwriter Raneri and the rest of the group (guitarist Jack O'Shea, drummer Chris Guglielmo and bassist Nick Ghanbarian) worked harder than ever trying to write a group of songs that felt like they could live up to the five previous studio albums Bayside has released since forming in 2000 in Queens, New York.
"This one was harder because I hit some walls in the writing of this one," he said. "I was telling my wife like 'It sucks, it sucks, the record sucks. I haven't written anything that's good yet. I'm back to square one. None of these songs are good,' just really driving myself crazy."
This made for a second straight album that was a struggle. Raneri also said the band's 2010 album, "Killing Time," involved a lot of re-writing and rearranging of songs. But the issues that affected the songwriting for the two albums were very different.
"The process of 'Killing Time' was very different because it was done kind of for a major label," Raneri said, noting the group was signed to Wind-Up Records at the time. "So the A&R people at the label were
pretty involved. They weren't involved in like (musical) direction, but they were at least involved with, they were somebody to bounce songs off of. Also, the producer we worked with (Gil Norton – famous for his work with the Pixies) was very involved throughout the whole process. The whole process, I wasn't on an island. There were always people hearing songs at every stage. So I was getting like positive feedback."
That wasn't at all the case as Raneri wrote for "Cult."
"This one, I was on an island," he said. "It was just me sitting there thinking 'Is it good? Is it not good? Is it amazing? Is this the best song I ever wrote or the worst song I ever wrote?' At this point, I had listened to it so many times I don't even know. I think that was probably why it was harder."
In the end, Raneri feels the band emerged with an album in "Cult" that in his words is "really, really good."
The true test for "Cult," of course, will be how fans respond to the album, the band's first for Hopeless Records. But it delivers what fans have come to expect from Bayside – namely an entertaining, well crafted set of rocking songs (such as "Hate Me," "Time Has Come" and "Pigsty") that combine punkish energy with classic pop vocal melodies, hooky guitar parts and some nifty instrumental twists.
Having spent the summer playing the Warped tour, Bayside is now doing a fall headlining tour. Raneri said one thing that defines a Bayside show is its honesty and enthusiasm. Those are logical qualities for a group that is perfectly content with its sound.
"We really do play with so much passion because I think we really do love our band," he said. "We love these songs. We are as into every note of these songs, every word of these songs as the crowd is. There's nothing fake about our live show."
Also of interest
String duo Black Violin to play York's Pullo Center Oct. 18
The Eaken Trio to perform Oct. 5 in Chambersburg's St. Paul U.M. Church