So it’s been a while since my last actual blog post aside from posting episodes from Ian Hates Podcast every now and then, but this is a first for me. This is actually the very first show review for a local backyard show in my hometown, The Bronx, New York or just any local show in general. It was a lot of anticipation and promotion for the many weeks leading up to the show with the bands joining the lineup and the barbeque, lot of the fun activities and refreshments provided for the crowd that was in attendance.
The show took place Saturday, August 27th (same day as Sylar’s album release show downtown) and it was a pretty good lineup going back in comparison to the 2011 backyard show with the stacked lineup when the festivities begun to take flight yearly up to this year. So many bands would always want to play the show because of course its outdoors and it’s always fun to have a show not take place in an indoor venue all the time. So aside from the acoustic acts, a solo electronic act and a couple of lesser known locals that opened the show, the lineup which a lot of people wanted to attend the show for is what really brought out a lot of heads out to crowd up the backyard and increase the show attendance. I was back in the sound guy seat yet again doing what I love to do aside from the norm, which is doing sound for good bands playing a show so let’s jump right in.
First band to talk about, which was technically the 8th act to take the stage on the porch, was a pop-punk/pop rock band from New York City called Silver Silver. This was the first time ever seeing this band since I have heard a lot about them from a couple of people around the scene so I was looking forward to hearing their sound live as well as the live performance. The group definitely was pretty tight live with the typical spunky pop rock sound that you would hear in bands like Paramore, Tonight Alive or even a unsigned band like My Arcadia. No complaints about the performance overall as every one held it down and people were really into the Dirty Diana cover as people were excited for that. Even though, I had used a really damaged microphone, I’m happy it worked for the vocalist Allison. Aside from the set, I honestly thought that the lead guitarist Roxy was cute as hell on stage playing the leads. Be sure to check out their single titled “We Are” out on iTunes, Spotify and Google Play.
Setlist: Flood In, Cest la Vie, Dirty Diana (Michael Jackson cover), T-Shirt and Jeans, You and Me, Livin’ Dreamin’.
Second band to talk about is Synapses Firing, a 3-piece alternative rock band from the Bronx, New York. I was really looking forward to seeing them live since forever since I knew two of the members since back in day when I first started working for Bronx Underground and they had dropped their first full-length EP titled “Forgive” the day before. After a poppy, spunky band performed on stage, Synapses Firing sort of chilled things out in a way with their brand of experimental alternative rock mixed with a bit of post-hardcore thrown in. Good set of songs chosen to play live for the crowd in attendance even though I was expecting more of the former Bronx Underground employees and bands to be in attendance but hey what can you do? Overall, the lads put on a good set and once they got off stage, they were welcome with a really good reception. For fans of Brand New, Glassjaw and Armor for Sleep, please check out Synapses Firing on Facebook and Bandcamp and buy their music to support them.
Setlist: Skin, Cut, Omen, On the Floor, Sparrows and Doves, You’ve Been a Bastard.
Up next was the pop/post-hardcore band In Loving Memory from Long Island, New York who replaced As Days Fade who was supposed to play originally. It was the first time meeting these dudes since they have toured with Varsity before and have seen their name all over Facebook due to the Varsity members. Very cool guys and were very professional for the most part and as far as I was concerned they were a good live band even though their music was not really my thing. They definitely had a good reception and me and vocalist Naveed Stone and guitarist/vocalist Jon Conway have chopped it up a few times during the show and after. For fans who love post-hardcore/metalcore and pop mixed together, then In Loving Memory is right up your alley. Be sure to check out the Issues cover collaboration of “Coma” they did along with Varsity on Youtube and their recent single “Finna Smash”.
Setlist: Finna Smash, All Systems Go, I Stay True, With or Without You (No, not the U2 song), Burning Flower.
The duo of Peter Lanza and Mike Martinez also known as Above the Empty were up next. I have put them on my list of favorites of 2015 in my first ever blog post before and it was my 100th time seeing them live despite that I have known Peter and Mike personally for a long time now. By the time they too the stage, it was nighttime so the last three bands broke out the stage lights along with the porch lights of the house so it was lit, literally. During their 7-song set, things were starting to pop as they performed their cover of “Numb” by Linkin Park really got the crowd going and excited for the rest of their set which was rounded out by a new song and two familiar favorites, one being a huge fan favorite, that being “Inside My Mind”. And by that time, the moshing began to occur during their last song of the set. Good performance overall despite a few hiccups on Mike’s part due to not so much light in the back of the porch if I’m correct. Be on the lookout of news of their EP that they are currently recording.
Setlist: Liberate, Another World, Eternity, Numb (Linkin Park cover), Diamonds (New song), Inside My Mind, Sincerely.
And for their first backyard show, up next was Oni, a 7-piece prog-hardcore masked band who is currently in New York. Most of the time, they were in the back watching the bands, which adds to the very mysterious, creep-like vibe they give off before they take the stage. Despite technical difficulties within the set, they put on a pretty good short 4-song set including a cover of Korn’s “Falling Away From Me” and a single, which is a favorite, titled “I Am Oni”. These guys are definitely on the come up in the scene in New York and I look forward to hearing more music from them because the look they have will definitely have people take interest in what they have to offer. All they need now is for their real drummer to be seen on stage as opposed to what looked like a fill-in.
Setlist (provided by the band’s management): Madame Noir, Ebon Flame (a song based off the anime Berserk Manga), Falling Away from Me (Korn cover), I Am Oni.
Last but not least, the headlining band known as Varsity tore the house down. Things have been popping off for these guys ever since they became a full 5-piece after being originally a solo project for vocalist Joey Varela regarding music, their signing with Artery Foundation, tours and upcoming releases in the future. There was so much anticipation for the entire day for these guys to perform the show for the fans who were looking to hear the bangers. It was their last New York show for a while, so they definitely brought the energy during the set for sure. But of course, their set couldn’t start without Joey doing a Snapchat video of the people in attendance chanting “Moist”. People of course brought on the mosh during “Cali Dreams”, which was the last song of the set. Besides a couple of live guest spots came from the members of In Loving Memory and Peter Lanza of Above the Empty during Varsity’s popular songs, two new songs were played live as well which kept people dying for their new music to be released hopefully later this year in form of an EP which is to be titled “The Death of a Monster”. Despite the sound system cutting in and out during the songs, which was annoying, it was a great live set full of energy to close the night out and have the crowd in attendance leaving home happy to have seen a great show.
Setlist: Risen, Sentinel, Impressionable Me (New song), Colorblind (New song), Southeast Exchange, Reign Dance, Cali Dreams.
Overall, the backyard show this year was definitely a good one and it lasted until midnight with a good crowd turnout despite the other show that went on. Also no cops came to disrupt the show like 2011’s backyard show. Great times. My final rating for the show was a 4/5 despite the many sound hiccups and me not being with my true friend for shows like that, Behringer Europower PMP4000. All in all, it was one the best ways to close out the summer. For those that missed out, there’s always next year.
Be sure to check out the bands that performed the show on their respective social medias and check out their music. Support music!
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Varsityofficialnyc/
Instagram – @varsity_nyc
Twitter – @varsity_nyc
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/weareoni/
Instagram – @oniband
Above the Empty:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/abovetheemptyofficial/
Instagram – @abovetheempty
Twitter – @abovetheempty
In Loving Memory:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/InLovingMemoryNewYork/
Instagram – @inlovingmemoryny
Twitter – @ILMnewyork
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/synapsesfiringbx/
Instagram – @synapsesfiring
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/SilverSilverMusic/
Instagram – @silversilvermusic
Twitter – @silversilverny