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Bayside's acoustic set at the Tralf lets lyrics shine brighter

There are bands whose foremost connection with their fans is through a tsunami of guitar chords and crashing cymbals, wailing and smashing to whisk away listeners to another sonic universe. Delivery of accompanying lyrics is certainly an element of the operation, but it’s clearly secondary to the instrumental onslaught.

This isn’t the case with emo-punk act Bayside, whose therapeutic songwriting and sing-along lines stood even more pronounced than usual throughout its acoustic tour stop on Thursday night inside Tralf Music Hall.

On the road with the reinvented tracks of “Acoustic Volume 2,” the Queens-born quartet of Anthony Raneri, Jack O’Shea, Nick Ghanbarian and Chris Guglielmo are trying something different.

As Victory Records alums, they’ve never been known to skimp on the amplification. But interwoven between its sometimes-throttling guitars, bass and drums have always been reassuring, self-assuring or relatable lyrics that speak directly to listeners experiencing the same growing pains.

[Related: Smiles at Bayside's 2017 show in Town Ballroom | Photos of Bayside from that show]

And these messages have come off just fine across the act’s electric catalog. But unplugged, there’s an added sincerity and embrace sometimes unavailable between the potency of power chords—and fans certainly got a taste of this poignancy amid a packed Tralf.

Starting off with the sea-shanty sway of short “Shudder” track, “Moceanu,” Raneri and Co.—with lines like “I liked reality better when it was a dream”—set the table for the evening, both lyrically and instrumentally. With the former, the Bayside frontman’s plaintive words shone more pronounced atop his and O’Shea’s guitars; and with a lounge singer-like cadence employed on fellow “Shudder” cut, “Howard,” Raneri's vocal delivery was able to join a completely new arrangement to reinvent a song as a new version of itself.

With the rest of its set list, Bayside expertly utilized its stripped-down catalog favorites to redeliver once-sage advice to fans that have grown with the band (“Not Fair” and “They Looked Like Strong Hands”); add some upbeat acoustic vigor to their most nakedly depressing material (I Can’t Go On”); and extend a rational hand to those trembling amid a time of fear and uncertainty, via a new track (“It Don’t Exist”).

Supporting Bayside as opener and throughout its set (on keys and violin) was Syracuse native and SUNY Fredonia grad, GOLDS. Full name Kayleigh Goldsworthy, the singer/songwriter toured through heartfelt material off her new EP, “All These Miles.”

*Read more: 5 things to know about Bayside before its Buffalo visit.

Setlist: "Moceanu," "Devotion and Desire," "Howard," "It Don’t Exist," "I Think I’ll Be OK," "Not Fair," "Transitive Property," "Mary," "They Looked Like Strong Hands," "Duality," "I Can’t Go On," "The Ghost," "Sick Sick Sick," "Blame It On Bad Luck," "Pigsty," "On Love, On Life," "Don’t Call Me Peanut," "Don’t Look Back in Anger" (Oasis cover) and "Landing Feet First."

Show playlist on Spotify


Bayside, Nov. 29 at the Tralf Music Hall

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