White Oak Music Hall (Houston, TX) and Emo’s (Austin, TX)
4/17/17 and 4/19/17
Say Anything is no stranger to the alternative/punk rock scene. The band formed in 2000 and has fostered a dedicated fan base that shows up time and time again for the SA concert when they come to their towns. As fans, we have seen front man Max Bemis metamorphose from self proclaimed, “Man whore” struggling with his mental health into the most badass punk rock dad who lives in an adorable pink house with his equally adorable wife, Sherri Dupree Bemis, and daughters, Lucy and Coraline. We have seen this change expressed in Say Anything’s music both lyrically and stylistically, but Max has stuck to his angsty tunes and “rebel-against-the-man” attitude that so many of his fans find solace in.
Max’s dedication to creating music has led to not only the band’s long term existence and success but also side projects such as Two Tongues (with Saves The Day’s Chris Conoally), and Perma (with Sheri Dupree Bemis), not to mention his popular song shops for which he writes songs about whatever the person who bought it wants. Max also uses comic writing as another creative outlet. If that’s something your interested in, check out Polarity or his work with Marvel here.
Anyone who knows me knows I am a huge Say Anything fan and I have been looking forward to this show for weeks. I attended the first date of the tour in Houston, Texas as well as the third date in Austin, Texas. My expectations were exceeded at both shows. Max and the boys were fuming with energy and charisma as they danced and strutted around stage.
Max was also very gracious, showering the crowd, his co-headliner, and opening act with compliments and appreciation. It is always really nice to see one of your favorite artists be kind and humble.
The shows were a different experience due to my position in the crowd. For the Houston date, I was at the barrier, which means better photos, brief eye contact with the band members, and a better chance of getting a setlist at the end of the show. However rewarding the barrier can be, the real party at a Say Anything show is a couple feet back, in the center of the pit. For the Austin show, I was right in the center, which meant lots of dancing, pushing and moshing. There were some points during the set in which I felt as though my fellow concert comrades and I were in a blender, being forced around and colliding with others, but boy, isn’t that just fun sometimes?
As for the setlist, Say Anything did an excellent job of playing oldies off of Early Rarities and new songs. Two of which, were making their first live debut on this tour (Jiminy and Signal the Riflemen). My only complaint with their set is a complaint that I have with many of my favorite bands which is; I wish they could play even more songs. If it were up to me, I would have them play 2-3 hour sets but I realize this is completely unrealistic therefore I do not dock off any points for this complaint. Honestly it’s just me wishing that the show wouldn’t end.
So, for all of you out there that have some angst you need to purge, that want to rebel against The Man, that want to yell colorful lyrics back at a man who embodies punk rock, go buy yourself a ticket to this tour. Wear comfortable clothes and sturdy shoes, get right in the center of the pit and sing and mosh your heart out. Channel all the anger and annoyance you’ve felt in the past few weeks and purge it to the witty angsty lyrics of Max Bemis. Not only will you experience an amazing show, you will also leave the venue feeling a little lighter, like the pressures and stress of what is going on in your life can’t keep you down. Isn’t that what we turn to music for? For a brief escape from reality? For a feeling of communion with others?