The calendar may read “March”, but much of the country was treated to another dose of snow this past Monday, leading many to dream of springtime. While the vernal equinox is still two weeks away, bands are already packing their gear, picking their setlists, saying their goodbyes to their hometown and making the final preparations for their spring headlining tours. While winter is usually reserved for short tours or hometown shows, spring is where bands travel extensively across the country to support their latest releases. This spring is no different, and while it’s impossible to include every tour worth checking out, I wanted to run through some of the most intriguing tours happening between March and May.
“The Great American Cult Tour” is a long time coming for Bayside. Although they have maintained a steady, cult-like level of popularity over their career, the band has not done a full solo headlining tour since their 2008 album Shudder. It’s hard to believe their brilliant 2011 release Killing Time only resulted in co-headliners (with Saves the Day, Silverstein, and Senses Fail) and supporting spots (with Taking Back Sunday and Alkaline Trio). Finally, Bayside have the chance to put together a longer setlist to properly do justice to their six-album catalog; look for some rare, deep cuts thrown into their set. Also worth noting is the presence of Four Year Strong, who have remained relatively inactive since their divisive 2011 effort In Some Way, Shape, Or Form. It will be interesting to see how the lack of shows has affected the band and if they will stick to mostly old songs on this run. Daylight and Mixtapes round out the tour, adding some variety and making this one of the “can’t miss” shows of the spring. The tour kicks off on March 5 in Cleveland and winds down on April 5 in Worchester.
This is the tour I am most excited for. After releasing the fantastic conclusion to their coming-of-age conceptual trilogy, The Wonder Years are taking some friends on the road in support of The Greatest Generation. While many may complain that it’s a predictable line-up, the tour contains some interesting, rapidly growing bands. Boston hardcore band Defeater had to drop the tour due to vocalist Derek Archambault’s health problems, resulting in Fireworks, Michigan pop punk band and long-time friends of The Wonder Years, stepping in to fill the supporting slot. Additionally, Citizen and Real Friends, two bands that have become darlings of the pop punk scene, are sure to bring along their own dedicated following. Opening the bill is up-and-coming emo band Modern Baseball, fresh off the release of their stellar sophomore album You’re Gonna Miss It All. The Wonder Years should be playing the longest set of their careers and are playing in front of the largest crowds of their career, which includes an already sold-out show at the 2,000 plus capacity Best Buy Theater in New York City. This fast-selling tour begins on March 5 in Clifton Park NY and concludes on April 18 in New Jersey.
In what is sure to be the most emotionally-charged tour of the spring, La Dispute is taking out Pianos Become The Teeth and Mansions on a month-long tour to support their third album Rooms of the House. These shows will feature three bands that offer a mix of hardcore, indie, and emo to create dark, tortured emotional music, which will require a box of tissues and a well-rested set of lungs in order to scream along to. La Dispute’s following has increased tremendously since their 2011 sophomore effort Wildlife, and teaming up with Pianos Become the Teeth is a logical move. Mansions are sure to get some good exposure opening for this tour and their dark, brooding style is sure to appeal to La Dispute fans. This tour, which already boasts an impressive number of sold-out shows, begins on March 14 in North Carolina and winds down on April 14 in Cleveland.
It’s hard to ignore a tour that sold out two New York City shows within a day of their release and had to add a third show due to “overwhelming demand”. Who knew Taking Back Sunday and The Used would still have so much pull in 2014? The two giants, who played together in support of Blink-182 in 2004, team up 10 years later for a monstrous headlining tour. Both bands have tasted mainstream success, attained gold and platinum album status, and signed with major record labels, but the bands are each set to release their respective albums in the Spring on indie powerhouse Hopeless Records. The move should be a good litmus test for each band, demonstrating how successful the bands still are and can be in a smaller label than they are accustomed to. Joining the bill is female-fronted Australian pop punk band Tonight Alive and new Spencer Chamberlain (ex-Underoath) project Sleepwave. The tour begins on March 14 in Dallas and concludes on April 27 in Orlando.
I like to call this the “Friends of Brand New” tour. While this line-up would have been perfect opening for the Long Island recluses, it’s exciting to see Manchester Orchestra embark on a nice, long tour with a couple friends. For lack of a better term, this tour is going to be “heavy” (musically and emotionally) in the best possible way as Manchester Orchestra support their long-awaited fourth album Cope. Coming along for the ride are the always incredible Balance & Composure, who put on one of the best live shows in music today, and the likable Kevin Devine & The Goddamn Band, who is fresh off his highly successful crowd funded double album and whose live show continues to grow. This has a chance to be one of the most impressive “under-the-radar” tours of the spring, but with three stellar live bands, it’s one not to be missed. The tour kicks off on April 17 in Tampa and winds down on May 31 in Nashville.