Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Monday, October 2

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« Review: Wild Flag, Hospitality @ Metro, 4/5 Preview: Preservation Hall Jazz Band @ S.P.A.C.E. »

Review Mon Apr 09 2012

Review: Say Anything @ House of Blues

Say Anything-34.jpg

(Photos by Lindsay Stayton)

It happens to every band fortunate enough to make it past its second album. The act of compiling a set list when it's time to tour becomes a sheer balancing act--deciding what new songs to debut on tour but still mixing in enough old fan favorites to keep audiences appeased.

This was what I was afraid of when I went to see Say Anything last Wednesday (April 4). Fresh off the release of their fourth album, Anarchy, My Dear--and factoring the double-disc element of their sophomore release, Say Anything have quite the arsenal of songs to select from. Despite my instant affinity for Anarchy and the well-deserved attention the album's been getting from publications like SPIN and Rolling Stone, I was still hopeful to hear hear some old gems at the pop punkers' headlining show at House of Blues.

Say Anything-66.jpg

(Photos by Lindsay Stayton)

I am fairly certain that Say Anything stopped time last Wednesday. I'm still trying to figure out how the band fit that many tunes into a 90-minute set. Not only did the set list possess outstanding quantity, there was just as much quality to the song selections.

From the moment the six members of Say Anything--lead by their vivacious ring leader Max Bemis--took the stage and the opening chords of "Spidersong" (from the band's debut album) surged through the speakers, I was thrilled. Opening one's concert with one of the oldest songs in your catalog--and one that's not even a single--shows an immediate acknowledgement of the same anxiety that I was experiencing along with, I assume, many other members of the sold-out crowd.

Say Anything-15.jpg

(Photos by Lindsay Stayton)

What followed was an almost perfectly balanced collection of songs from each of the band's four albums. The wildly popular singles like "Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too" were played along with the more unexpected tracks the never-been-performed-until-this-tour "Slumming It With Johnny"--a song off one of the band's unofficial EPs. New songs off Anarchy, My Dear also drew a great response. Tender tracks like Bemis's odes to his wife "Say Anything" and "So Good"--Mrs. Bemis even joined her hubby on stage to help sing the latter--were a great contrast to the snarky, higher energy songs like the album's lead single "Burn a Miracle."

The band closed out the night with further perfect symmetry: a back to back performance of "Admit It"--an "eff you" to pretentious hipsters that closed out Say Anything's first album--and "Admit It Again"--a track from the new album that plays off the same music and message as the elder song. Anxious anticipation of the set list successfully squashed.

Say Anything-50.jpg

(Photos by Lindsay Stayton)

GB store
GB store

Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

GB store


Featured Series


Transmission on Flickr

Join the Transmission Flickr Pool.

About Transmission

Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Sarah Brooks,
Transmission staff inbox:



Transmission Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15