July 10, 2014 Say Anything sell out Best Buy Theater NYC 6-28-14
2014 has been a big year for Los Angeles, CA band Say Anything. After the announcement back in January that their follow-up to 2012’s Anarchy, My Dear was complete, the summer could not come soon enough for fans to get their hands on it. The sixth studio album titled Hebrew hit stores on June 10th, and three short days later Say Anything took to the road for the 36-date summer Hebrew Tour with The Front Bottoms, The So So Glos and You Blew It!. Returning to New York City on Saturday June 28th for the first time since 2013 when they played two consecutive nights at Irving Plaza would promise to be a fantastic evening. This time around hitting Best Buy Theater in midtown, a sold out crowd gathered early so they did not miss any of the bands.
Everyone remembers the first concert they attended, likely as a teenager was where it all began. For vocalist Tanner Jones of Orlando, FL based You Blew It!, opening this tour was special for more reasons than one. Taking the stage first, the band was amped up and Jones told the audience that his first club show ever had been a Say Anything show when he was fourteen or fifteen years old. Coming full circle, You Blew It! has come a long way since their beginnings in 2009, now a part of The Hebrew Tour.
Interacting with the audience and riling them up for the rest of the night, You Blew It! made the most of their time on stage. After the first song or two, the energy level evidently was not where they wanted it to be so they informed the crowd that New Jersey had been more energetic. Naturally, as New Yorkers, the crowd seemed to take this personally and felt the need to out do whatever bar New Jersey had previously set. Performing a series of tracks off their 2014 album Keep Doing What You’re Doing such as “Award Of The Year” and “Regional Dialect”, the band’s performance was electrifying and the audience responded playfully, landing them a grade of 79, passing but nothing outstanding. Concluding the seven song set with “Better to Best”, Jones informed fans they had in fact earned an A grade, the same could be said for the very enjoyable live show put on by You Blew It!
Brooklyn natives, The So So Glos took the stage second, ready to treat a hyped up hometown crowd. Formed initially as a punk rock outfit back in 2007, the band’s 2013 album Blowout became their most critically acclaimed and landed them a spot on the Top 50 Albums of 2013 of Rolling Stone magazine.
With the hometown crowd screaming lyrics back at the group from the start, one would never believe The So So Glos were only the second group of the evening from the command they had of both the stage and the audience. Fans were off their feet and jumping around for most of the set which was great to see and clearly inspired the band to perform at a heightened level. Matching the energy of the audience, vocalist/bassist Alex Levine and company were highly animated and clearly loving every minute of their set. It is seldom seen that everyone in a band contributes on vocals to their songs. With all four voices blended nicely, they complemented each other well to create a unique sound. The So So Glos certainly stood out not only to their local followers but to those which did not know what to expect as well.
Keeping the local flavor going, main support came from New Jersey band The Front Bottoms. The band’s success in recent years has helped them reach a broader audience, and on June 17th they released a new EP titled Rose with five unreleased and one new track.
With quite a unique set up consisting of two drum kits off to the side as opposed to the back of the stage centered behind the band, both kits were used in the set with a guest-drumming appearance from You Blew It! drummer Matt Nissley. From the moment the group took the stage with songs like “Flashlight” and “Skeleton”, fans seemed to feel the need to get as close as possible to the action. Crowd surfers were in full swing from the first note until the last one. Vocalist Brian Sella’s punk and folk influenced singing matched with comedic lyrical content captured the audience through songs like “Beers”, “Maps” and closer “Twin Size Mattress”. Upon the set’s conclusion the crowd flooded out the merchandise tables with beaming smiles and looks of pure joy assuring they were more than satisfied with The Front Bottoms and could not wait to see them again soon.
After a variety of talented openers, Best Buy Theater was ready for main act Say Anything. Weathering a long and windy road since forming in 2000, the band’s success has been plentiful from the start. Faced with adversity, founding vocalist Max Bemis defeated personal issues early on in his career and Say Anything has triumphed with four chart topping records including their latest Hebrew. With the floor of the theater swelling with anticipation, everyone could hardly wait for the set to begin.
Provoking a reaction of exhilaration from the room, Say Anything opened up with a jumble of past and present songs such as “Six Six Six”, “Spidersong”, and “Burn a Miracle”. With adrenaline pumping through their veins, each member explosively jumped around and slid across the floor of the stage without missing a note. Keeping the song selection fresh, Bemis performed those not heard live in sometime such as “Baby Girl, I’m A Blur”, “The Writhing South”, and making its debut live appearance in 2014, “Surgically Removing the Tracking Device”. Not restricting themselves to the confines of one corner of the stage, the audience was given equal attention by each member interacting passionately as they performed. Bemis, emotionally inspiring, stood at the edge of the stage for a good portion of the set which only made fans scream the lyrics to each track even louder. Keeping a healthy pulse on the good vibes, Bemis even directed his microphone toward the sold out audience to allow them to participate in songs.
Moving along, balancing the mood out and satisfying their followers, some more highlights included “Cemetery” and “Sheep”. During set closer “Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too” the crowd sang along to each word as Bemis enticed them to raise the volume by pointing at fans, making eye contact, and had everyone ecstatic. With the intensity level so high an encore was in order with Say Anything coming back out for “I Want To Know Your Plans”, “Boyd”, and fan favorite “Belt”.
As everyone left the building it was evident that they had thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Chatter about the events of the night; whether it was heated discussion about whose set was most enjoyable or reminiscing over a favorite moment could be overheard. Say Anything did not let down with a performance that kept the noise level in the red and had New York City wondering when the band will be back again.