Words by Bill San Antonio | Photo by Nicole Mago

The end of the calendar year is depressing as hell, especially if you live in the Northeast where it gets dark super early and there’s nothing around for miles except strip malls and snow that hasn’t melted yet and bitter, bitter, bitter cold, the kind that sullies your mood and raises your expectations tenfold for any shred of happiness before that ball drops in Times Square and the daily grind begins anew.

So it’s easy to see how the last handful of Fridays in 2013 were not very kind to the Paramount in Huntington, a venue that has quickly become one of the primary reasons to head out to the village. The Paramount’s year-end lineup included three bands that call Long Island home, including two in Glassjaw and Brand New that have drawn harsh criticism for their lack of new material and infrequent touring, as well as set lists comprised of obscure and often unpopular cuts rather than fan favorites. Mix a timebomb of year-end northeast bitterness with even moderately proportioned expectations gone unmet and, well, I’ll let you Google the results. They’re out there.

But the third time was the charm for the Paramount’s third local act, Queens quartet Bayside, who started their first of three holiday shows in Huntington on Dec. 27 with Modern Baseball, NK and Man Overboard. The band rocked an hour-plus-long set that featured cuts from each of their five albums, as well as the live debut of their newest song, “Pigsty,” off their forthcoming full-length, Cult (Feb. 18, Hopeless Records). Their first show since October, the band seemed a bit rusty even on songs they play at every show, but what they lacked in precision they more than made up for in the aggressive energy fans have come to expect from their Long Island outings, which in more recent years have been fewer and far between.

In true Bayside fashion, the band had a few surprises in store, notably “Pigsty” and multiple songs from their under-appreciated 2008 album Shudder, as well as the Christmas staple “O Holy Night.” But midway through the show, singer Anthony Raneri called attention to the results of the band’s Bayside tattoo contest and called to the stage Chris, the assumed winner. Raneri also called up Chris’s girlfriend Sam, who Chris said he met at a Bayside show because they had matching Bayside tattoos. The crowd would soon learn there was no Bayside tattoo contest – Raneri would later admit as much – as Chris called Sam “my devotion and my desire” and dropped to one knee and asked her to marry him. Through tears and covering her mouth with her hands, Sam nodded her head and fell into Chris’s arms, and as the newly-engaged couple left the stage the band broke into “Landing Feet First,” one of the few love songs in its catalogue.

Set list:

Already Gone
They’re Not Horses, They’re Unicorns
Devotion and Desire
A Call to Arms
How to Fix Everything
Seeing Sound
The Walking Wounded
It’s Not a Bad Little War
We’ll Be OK
Landing Feet First
Poison in My Veins
Don’t Call Me Peanut
Sick, Sick, Sick

O Holy Night
Dear Tragedy


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