Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Bayside and Alkaline Trio at The Forum, Kentish Town

We all know that getting a person's name tattooed is usually a very bad idea. Tacky? Probably. Risky? Definitely. But committing your love for a band to ink is another matter entirely (unless you have a Lost Prophets tattoo in which case you probably regret it for numerous reasons), which is why I'm happy to wear my Bayside bird with pride. They are my favourite band and I don't use the word 'favourite' lightly.

If you ask me to name my favourite film or fashion designer, the best that I can do is come up with a top five, and with bands I would probably need to make it a top ten. But when push comes to shove and I have to pick a favourite, it's always Bayside. I won't try and rationalise why. I could bore you for hours talking about their beautifully clever lyrics and infectious melodies, their talent as musicians or passion as live performers... but like all great loves it really just boils down to chemistry. And man am I smitten.

So on Saturday morning I woke up with a big fat smile on my face knowing that they were back in London for the first time in several years. Better still they were supporting Alkaline Trio, a band that I have recently rekindled my feelings for after a love affair that ended inexplicably without me even realising many years ago.

The fact that Bayside are still a support act baffles me. Formed in 2000, they have six studio albums under their belt and have been on numerous high profile tours with bands such as Taking Back Sunday. I can't work out for the life of me how they are so incredibly underrated. To see a support act of their calibre is pretty rare and I've seen them play some small venues, supporting bands that are clearly inferior. (Sorry A Day To Remember but you know I'm right...)

On the plus side it does mean that I'm still getting to see my favourite band up close and personal at venues like The Forum, and on Saturday I had a first class view just a few rows back, smack bang in front of bassist Nick Ghanbarian.

Bayside are currently promoting their latest album Cult and kicked things off with a new song Big Cheese before working their way through classics like The Walking Wounded and Devotion and Desire.

Anthony Raneri's completely unique voice gives the band a distinctive edge and guitarist Jack O'Shea effortlessly proved why he has been nominated for Best Guitarist at the first Alternative Press music awards, a well deserved accolade. Check out Devotion and Desire and you'll see what I mean – for the record he's just as flawless live.

Quite simply Bayside killed it. Once they had finished I knew that I had already got my money's worth. Were it not for an impending set by Alkaline Trio I could happily have called it a night and gone home to my sofa to celebrate Bayside's success with my good friend Jack Daniels. Instead I settled for another trip to the bar, which sadly lost us our prime position. The atmosphere isn't the same when you are further away from the stage but we still had a pretty good view. Luckily it was nowhere near as packed as last year's Refused gig which made me dislike the Forum immensely for a while...

Alkaline Trio put on a great show as expected and I, along with the rest of the crowd, happily sang my way through nine albums' worth of gold. I'm not sure I can pick out a highlight but This Could Be Love, Stupid Kid and Private Eye were all pretty incredible. In fact here's the setlist so you can see for yourself:

Yes, Alkaline Trio were fantastic but for me they were simply the icing on the Bayside cake. I got my fix. But a high like that is inevitably followed by a low, and the next morning I found myself wondering if I'd be waiting just as long for them to return to London. Or will 2014 be the year they hit the big time?

After all these years I'm completely torn between wanting Bayside to take over the world and achieve every bit of success they deserve, and wanting them to stay exactly as they are – seriously underrated but perfect. A Bayside gig is the only place that anyone has recognised my tattoo and if I'm honest I like it that way. I'm wearing my heart on my sleeve every single day but only a fellow Bayside fan will ever know it.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Top 5 Sunglasses – SS14

Yes, it's that time of year again! My sunglasses have taken up permanent residence in my handbag 'just in case' and the second the sun appears I dash out to the patio and spend half an hour on my sun lounger before a cloud arrives and I have to get back to work. Does anyone else who works from home do the same thing or is it just me?...

This season there's a really wide variety of styles hitting the shops and the slightly crazier ones are my favourites – bright colours, animal prints, totally unnecessary embellishment – particularly from my new sunglasses crush Anna-Karin Karlsson. I hope you enjoy my top five!

Anna-Karin Karlsson, £655

House of Holland, £180

Miu Miu, £240

Anna-Karin Karlsson, £480

The Row, £270


Saturday, 5 April 2014

Today's Soundtrack: Nirvana – Heart-Shaped Box

I couldn't really let today go by without marking it in some small way. Two decades have passed since Kurt Cobain's death and, despite only ever recording three studio albums, Nirvana remain one of the most influential rock bands of all time. On a personal level they are one of the bands that (along with the help of my Sony Walkman and long hair to sneakily cover my headphones) helped to relieve the boredom of many a school lesson.

It was hard to choose one song to post but I decided to go with my gut and pick one of my all time favourites. Today's soundtrack is Heart-Shaped Box by Nirvana.
© Rock & Runway

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