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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)

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

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

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