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Review: Taking Back Sunday at Bamboozle

Adam Lazzara, Taking Back Sunday singer, performs at

Adam Lazzara, Taking Back Sunday singer, performs at Bamboozle. (April 30, 2011) Credit: Agaton Strom

Taking Back Sunday's triumphant return to The Bamboozle didn't quite go as planned.

Sure, it was set up beautifully, with lots of great music at Day 2 of the massive three-day festival in the Meadowlands Complex parking lot, including stand-out sets from the emotional Dashboard Confessional, the potent Gaslight Anthem and the long-awaited reunion of Long Island scene heroes The Movielife.

However, Taking Back Sunday's reunion of its "Tell All Your Friends"-era lineup hit a pretty big snag, as singer Adam Lazzara struggled with losing his voice. It was clear from the beginning, as Lazzara sounded hoarse and uncharacteristically off-key during "You Know How I Do" and "Bike Scene."

Even talking was a challenge early on, as he revealed that the band would play its breakthrough album, "Tell All Your Friends," in its entirety. Though that announcement clearly thrilled the fans, it also placed an even higher burden on his voice. There's nowhere for him to hide on those songs, which are built around his impassioned wail and his ability to go from quiet to screaming in seconds. He didn't have that kind of control Saturday night.

The crowd seemed determined to carry Lazzara through it, though, with the rest of the band in fine form and Lazzara trying to cover with extra-dramatic stage antics and mic swinging. By the time the band reached the end of "Tell All Your Friends," Lazzara seemed to know his limits, saying, "I apologize in advance."

No apologies were really needed, as Lazzara's voice fared far better with the band's newer material, especially "El Paso" and the new single "Faith (When I Let You Down)," which goes on sale Tuesday. The song is catchy and anthemic, and Lazzara and Nolan powered through it well -- a good sign for the band's new album, set for release on June 28.

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In many ways, The Movielife reunion actually worked better, like a Long Island scenester dream come true. Their headliner-sized, 45-minute set was packed with all the shout-along songs that established them as leaders of the scene in the early Aughts.

Will there be another Movielife show after this success? "Stranger things have happened," said singer Vinnie Caruana.

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