Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Say Anything, Best Buy Theater, Friday, April 13th, 2012

At the top of the majestic dune, you can see some of the so called "dudes" 
who rocked Say Anything on theroad trip home.
Photo: Owen Weber (

After one of the best camping trips of my life, I was treated to a musical epiphany…Say Anything rocks!

It was a car ride. After a week camping in the beautiful sands of Ludington, MI, a bunch of dudes threw on In Defense of the Genre, a bombastic double album from Los Angeles’ Say Anything. It was one of those moments when all the stars align and the sonic landscape, matches perfectly with the outer landscape. Swirling trees and whizzing Detroit born automobiles; feelings, surroundings and genuine affinity for the “soundtrack of life” compounded together into the unfathomable movie script ending to a cathartic outdoor weekend. 

My buddy Kevin, one of life’s favorite spin-doctors, threw it in and said something along the lines of “CHECK OUT THIS TASTY LICK!?!?!” My life will never be the same. For some reason all the chord changes, silly song endings, insanely honest-sounding song writing, ridiculous combinations of musical styles from track to track resonated perfectly with how the weekend I never wanted to end, came to an end. But, we had the roadtrip back, and we were going to eat that shit up.

From that day forward (circa “that day-present”, Say Anything became my most listened to band in my catalog, absolutely destroying even the Foo Fighters and Taylor Hawkins in my Top Plays list on I-Tunes. Max Bemis and company aren’t the most remarkable song makers in the world, but there are a wide variety of idiosyncrasies for the senses, and it just happens to cleanse the pallet with ease, time and time again. He has a knack for finding a hook, blowing it up, twisting a bunch of knobs and finding that perfect piece of art within the creation—taking what’s given to him and using everything in his power, expanding internal expenditure without breaking the bank.

The sharks aren’t jumped, but they are beaten with hand whittled spears and who wouldn’t want to see that?

In March, Say Anything released Anarchy, My Dear their fourth studio album. Overall, I don’t like it as much as their other releases, branding it as kind of a Say Anything light beer offering, lacking some of the rawk I’ve come to crave from them, but recognizing sometimes that’s a good change of pace. It compliments their catalog well and is delicious, but not something I’ll crave for years to come.  

So, many years later, I find myself in a position where I haven’t seen my most listened to band live. Unacceptable.

The scene was much like when I was a kid and went to the Warped Tour. I, at 30, was seemingly the oldest person at Best Buy Theater by a good half decade. That’s all right, I’ve accepted my new concert role as toe-tapping beer drinker in the back, who listens to the music and remembers the day when concerts were more of a workout than a therapeutic disturbance from the grind.

I was eternally impressed with the energy Max Bemis brings to the stage, delivered with mental patient overzealousness, which was returned to him like white lightning from the youthful exuberance of the audience. It was like a tennis pro slinging serves and having them returned by Andre Agassi circa 1997—NYC was kicking in the township rebellion. Yeah, what about that sucker?

It seemed to make Bemis taken aback, causing him to gush several times about how, “this was the best audience of the tour,” but did so in a way that seemed genuine and spontaneous. I actually believed the most played cliché in the book. He did it so many times I actually started to feel bad for the guy, like he almost crossed the line of overthanking, like that of a grassroots soup kitchen rewarding their volunteers. Thankyou-thankyou-thankyou-thankyou…come again. At one point he even said, “we don’t deserve fans like you.”  

Their catalog features many sing-a-long “Woahs” and screaming backing chants. Many opportunities to let your voice heard as an audience, as many as there can possibly be at a rock concert, with kids up front on many occasions finding Bemis in their grill with the microphone awaiting your moment to immortalize yourself on tape. You know, where you hog the intellectual spotlight holding dominion over the whole, pointless concert? Yup. You had your moment kids up front.

Lucky enough, these guys are just as fun from the back. Right five-foot, 100-pound girl who insisted I hold her on my shoulders because “So Good” is “like totally her favorite song and she just HAAAAS to be able to see it!?” Her friends got enough pictures that, somewhere, I’m immortalized in film.

Burn a Miracle
Shiksa (Girlfriend)
Hate Everyone
In Defense of the Genre
Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too
Say Anything
Slumming it With Johnny
So Good
Every Man Has A Molly
The Church Channel
A Walk Through Hell
Alive With the Glory of Love

Admit It!!!
Admit It Again

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