The Sound Sessions: Anthony Raneri & Chris Conley

Venue: Home Club, Singapore
Date: 6th August 2012
Promoter: Snowbird Productions
Review by: Maisha G.
Special Thanks: Clement and the Snowbird Productions team
Photos by Kenneth L.

Both highly acclaimed bands’ vocalists in the punk rock scene hit our shores on Friday, 7th December. Bayside and Saves The Day are renowned for their work in this genre of our time, and for this sound sessions, we were in for a real treat. We saw the different sides of both bands – with the vocalist of each giving us a different style of performance altogether; stripped down, and bringing the audience closer to these artistes.

The night commenced with our very own local talents. The band Godzilla, who recently performed in Baybeats 2012, followed the theme of the gig and had put on an acoustic performance, too. Setting the tone of the show, they played a couple of their original songs, one of which was “Dream Like You Mean It”.

Chris Jones, better known for his stage name These Brittle Bones, gave us a stunning performance as he set a gloomy ambiance (a positive one at that) as he played the keyboards and sang songs off his EP. Watching him perform for the very first time, I heard comparisons were made to another local artiste with the stage name Sleep Easy but for Chris, his melodies and his lyrics were carefully strung out. The melodies captured my attention the very instant when he started the tune of his new single, “Flecks”, which I could comprehend every single word and the in depth meaning to the lyrics of the song. Whoever thought a 13 year old could be a lyrical genius? I sure am looking forward to seeing more of this boy wonder.

Holding a pitcher of water while drinking it from the straw, Anthony Raneri, the first star of the session that night chuckled as he broke the banter amongst the audience saying, “am I the only one who finds drinking water like this funny?” They joined in the giggles as they watched the man of the show work his wonders on the 6-string instrument.

The Sound Sessions

Despite being more popularly known as the vocalist of the band Bayside, he has also recently released his own 5-track debut EP titled New Cathedrals. Raneri began his set with the first track off the EP, “Sandra Partial”, one of the amazing songs on the track that tells a story about his bitter past. Instead of him brooding over it, he celebrates it with what he’s best known to do – song writing. Many have likened him to another celebrated musician, Anthony Green of Circa Survive, as both seem to give off a similar vibe through the range of their vocals, and the depth of their songs.

Not only did the setlist contain music from both his solo project and from his band Bayside; he also went out of his own genre and performed a song that holds a special place in my heart – “I Will Follow You Into The Dark” by Death Cab For A Cutie. Anthony made a disclaimer before he sang, which at the time was still a mystery to us on what song he was referring to. “I haven’t covered this song in over a year so there’s a 70% chance that I may forget the lyrics to this song”. All of that talk proved to be otherwise as he gave, in my eyes, a rendition that is close to perfection of the beautiful song. He communicated with the crowd and told us about his food adventures in one day and his face was lighted with glee when he said “I’m gonna have chilli crab tonight”, learning that to be one of our country’s signature dishes.

The Sound Sessions

The microphone was then passed on to the other star of the show for that night, Chris Conley from the band Saves The Day. He earlier reported in our local papers saying that he will scrap the whole idea of playing a ready planned setlist. He wanted the audience to tell him the songs to perform for the night, and so he did. I was more skeptical than afraid of the crowd, each of them screaming out to him on the songs they wanted him perform. Chris, being a man who wouldn’t want to disappoint his fans, jammed to the songs that he could catch the titles of by ear and the crowd went wild each time.

The Sound Sessions

The set felt therapeutic. I have to admit though, I thought I wasn’t going to enjoy the songs initially because I couldn’t really put my finger to the songs from Saves The Day that I’ve had a chance to listen to in my early years of being a teenager but that day, my perception changed. It changed so much so that I’ve been adding more and more songs from Saves The Day in my iTunes as of today.

Clad in a very laidback Hawaiian shirt giving off the very hippie vibe, he performed a song that was rarely performed by the band itself titled “Jodie” off the group’s first record Can’t Slow Down, and I was blown away. I found myself blinking uncontrollably in tandem to the rhythm of the song. I felt that I’ve wronged myself for not giving myself a chance to really enjoy the songs from the band and so that song was the turning point where I learned to appreciate the band even more.

The Sound Sessions

The night ended off incredibly, with the fans sitting outside Home Club, waiting to get our copies of EPs signed and to have our photos taken with both celebrated stars of the show. It’s amazing how both of them could be so down to earth, and to see them genuinely enjoying our country’s erratic weather. Nonetheless, it was a night that I remember being so much more appreciative of the music I use to shun, and Sound Sessions should definitely be staged frequently with other artistes that will provide us with different takeaways each time – exactly what we need to distract ourselves from our busy lives.