Review: Say Anything At Revolution Live
BY JEREMY HAAS
It was 9:00 PM on, April 24th. Revolution Live was swarming with fans mellow and talkative just moments before the headliners go on. Then finally, lights dim, and the stars of the evening take the stage. The timid looking spectators transform into pure energy, preparing themselves for the vivacious rock and roll they were about to be a part of; the loud, proud, and passionate; Say Anything.
Say Anything is an American band, hailing from Los Angeles, California. They are considered to be indie-punk, and have created a dedicated teenage fan base since their formation in 2000. Mixing traditional punk ideals with angst and strong musicianship, this band has had an impressive run so far. Their last album, entitled Anarchy, My Dear disappointed some fans, while pleasing others. In any sense, it’s much different from anything they’ve put out, and despite a title containing the word “anarchy,” this CD might be the farthest thing from punk. Frontman, songwriter, and musical mastermind Max Bemis seems to have drifted from the angry, bi-polar tendencies his music incorporated in the past. While Say Anything has gone through some serious changes throughout their musical career, nothing seemed as drastic as the release of Anarchy, My Dear. All the same, Say Anything didn’t fail to impress fans on their tour supporting the new album.
The group kicked off the show easing into the fan favorite “Spidersong” off 2004’s …is a Real Boy and quickly jumped from the mellow opening chords to the loud, punk rock hook of the song. The crowd started to push and shove as an opening was made in the middle of the floor. The spirit of punk rock exploded when courageous fans started to scream the lyrics they’ve held so dear and began to abuse each other in this mosh-pit of elation. The song went on for three minutes until the anthemic closing lyrics struck the crowd; everybody stopped their shoving, and started swaying as they chanted the end of the song. Unity was in the air as Say Anything tore into the fast paced “Burn a Miracle” and the crowd was returned to their former, aggressively excited state.
Nothing can compare to the raw power one gets from a Say Anything show. The band was enthusiastic and ecstatic through the entire set and the adoration from the audience was an indescribable force in the room. Amongst the sweat, smoke, and screams was this unspoken harmony. This was exemplified during the song “Belt,” once again the entire audience was enthralled, as if they were all the biggest fans in the world. The difference between this and “Spidersong” was that instead of stopping the excitement and speed of the crowd for a friendly sing-along; they pumped up the power for a more violent, and nonetheless beautiful, pit.
One song that really topped the others was “The Church Channel.” This short ballad tells of a love story within a mental institution. As a song written in the band’s prime, it captures all the elements of Say Anything that truly make them, Say Anything. Not quite as destructive as other tracks, this one features silky synth lines, awkward and charming lyrics, and a sense of spastic power.
Throughout the nineteen-song set, there was a plethora of fast-paced music that kept the crowd moving and kept the energy alive in the room. There were a few moments that lowered the audience energy for lighter tracks, but towards the end of the set, was one gracefully done, slow love song that stood out from the others. Entitled “A Walk through Hell,” this fan favorite was written when Max was only 17. It had certain innocence to it that others lacked, and it was a perfect way to slow down the show, the grand finale if you will.
The only big disappointment of the night was the encore; a three song final hurrah. I was expecting this encore to bring up the spirits of the crowd with one legendary track that may as well be the definition of Say Anything. The song I speak of is “Woe,” beautifully done; it layers a love song with rebellion and self-discovery that probably would have been the highlight of the show. Unfortunately, the band dropped this song only to replace it with the weak track “Ahhhh…men” off of their 2008 album Say Anything. While some fans were pleased to hear this song, a hush of disappointment fell over the room.
The Say Anything show was a spectacular event, and despite one big disappointment, was still energized and completely engaging
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