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Bayside takes stock of a strong first decade

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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The 10 years since Bayside's debut album, "Sirens and Condolences," weighed a bit on frontman Anthony Raneri and his bandmates as they made the New York punk group's just-released "Cults."

"We've been a band for a long time," says Raneri. "When we started this band we had to make a lot of decisions for the future when we didn't know if there was going to be a future, if we were gonna be a band in 15 years. But we still had to decide if we wanted to try to get as big as we can as fast as we can or do we want to be a career band like Bad Religion or NOFX, the bands we grew up on.

"We decided we were in it for the long haul. We wanted to be a working class band that did it the right way. So ever since then we've never really felt the need to redefine ourselves; we are who we are, and our fans are our fans. We're here to make ourselves happy and not be the biggest band in the world."

Better, Raneri adds, is more important than bigger. "All we try to do with every record is top our last one," he explains. "We want to sound unquestionably like Bayside but just want to get better and that." And he feels that "Cult" is mission accomplished in that regard, digging deeper lyrically than Raneri ever has before.

"A lot of it came naturally," he notes, "because in the four or five month span while we were in the studio my grandfather passed away and I sat at his wake and his funeral and thought about all the stories people told about him and wondered if there's anyone in my generation they're going to talk about 30 or 50 years from now. Then my stepfather passed away after that, and two weeks after that my stepbrother became a father -- all that within four months.

"So the world got a lot bigger for me in four months and a lot of verbiage came pretty naturally to me. These songs are what were on my mind at the time -- looking at the world as a bigger place, looking at the legacy I hoped to leave. I had a lot to say."

Bayside, Four Year Strong, Daylight and Mixtapes perform Thursday, March 6, in the Crofoot Ballroom, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $16.50 in advance, $19 day of show. Call 248-858-9333 or visit www.thecrofoot.com.

Web Site: www.thecrofoot.com

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