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Great South Bay Music fest: Taking Back Sunday’s powerful opener

On Thursday, July 13, 2017, rain and mud couldn't dampen the spirits of those who turned out for the annual Great South Bay Music Festival at Shorefront Park in Patchogue, where bands such as Taking Back Sunday and New Found Glory played for the crowd.  Credit: Newsday / Marcus Villagran

Soaking downpours and muddy mosh pits couldn’t sink spirits at the opening night of the Great South Bay Music Festival in Patchogue as Taking Back Sunday led a powerful slate of rock bands at Shorefront Park Thursday night.

“There’s something about being back on Long Island,” singer Adam Lazzara said, drawing a roar from the crowd, as the band took a rare break from its hard-hitting set.

“We’re the luckiest men you’re ever going to meet,” added Lazzara, who revealed the band had been practicing for its upcoming national tour in Lindenhurst this week.

The last time the Long Beach-based band played Great South Bay, in 2014, it ushered in the festival’s expansion to four days. This year, it kicks off Long Island’s biggest music festival ahead of headliners 311 on Friday, Gov’t Mule on Saturday and Eddie Money and the Zombies on Sunday.

Lazzara talked about looking to visit the American Waffle House in Massapequa where he used to work and finding that it had become a bank. And that’s not the only thing that has changed since Taking Back Sunday has grown from playing VFW halls and basements around Amityville into an international headliner.

During their hourlong set, Taking Back Sunday mixed songs from last year’s standout “Tidal Wave” album, including the rousing “Call Come Running,” with classics like “A Decade Under the Influence” and songs from their breakthrough “Tell All Your Friends” album. However, the focus was on strong newer material like the thunderous “Death Wolf” and the catchy pop punk of “Stood a Chance.”

Few things got a louder response, though, than when Lazzara declared, “We’re Taking Back Sunday and we’re from right here.”

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Thursday’s lineup on the main stage was packed with acts that came through the Long Island scene that spawned Taking Back Sunday in the early 2000s, including New Found Glory, Saves the Day and Frank Iero’s (formerly of My Chemical Romance) new band Frank Iero and the Patience.

New Found Glory singer Jordan Pundik had the capacity crowd jumping around in the rain to hits including “All Downhill From Here” and songs from their catchy new album “Makes Me Sick.”

Saves the Day singer Chris Conley was so pleased by the crowd reaction that he got down on one knee and proposed marriage as well as leading several singalongs, including one for “At Your Funeral.”

Some new Long Island scene bands tried to keep that feeling alive, as they made great impressions themselves. Manorville’s Bohemians kicked off the day with their charming ’80s-influenced dance rock. And King Neptune urged the crowd to embrace the downpour, as they played their irresistible party music. “Let’s just all get wet,” suggested singer Ian Kenny when the rains returned, though at that point there was little choice.

SETLIST: Tidal Wave / You Know How I Do / Error Operator / You Can’t Look Back / Flicker, Fade / Call Come Running / Liar (It Takes One To Know One) / Best Places To Be a Mom / Stood a Chance / Death Wolf / What’s It Feel Like To Be a Ghost / A Decade Under the Influence / Better Homes and Gardens / Cute Without the ‘E’ / Make Damn Sure

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