Say Anything, You Blew It!, the So So Glos, The Front Bottoms Warehouse Live June 15, 2014
Sunday night my DeLorean took me straight back to 2006, and drove 88 miles per hour to Warehouse Live's four-band showcase starring Say Anything. Despite never having been a particularly rabid fan of the headliners, I'd listened to a good handful of their songs: they were always associated with bands I loved back when the Warped Tour was still the biggest highlight of the summer. Even so, nothing they did ever particularly grabbed me with the exception of 2012's "Burn a Miracle."
Sunday night's show was an experience that didn't necessarily change my feelings toward Say Anything, but at least I know why: I have no particular connection with this band because they never "got" to me in the way that others of the time did. Post pop-punk emo is successful when it taps into its audience's own thoughts and emotions (read: it's called emo for a reason). If a listener connects with the lyrics, it becomes a personal experience; if not, it all pretty much sounds exactly the same.
Typical of an all-ages concert such as one, four bands filled out the show. Openers You Blew It! sounded like a million other bands I've heard a million other times, with nothing particularly unique about their music. Worse, the backdrop for their entire performance was for the band playing third. Maybe it couldn't have been helped, but misinforming your audience about your name is likely not the best way to be memorable.
Brooklyn-based the So So Glos -- truth be told, the reason I wanted to attend -- occupied the second slot. Since first seeing them at SXSW more than five years ago, this band has consistently impressed me with fresh music and an engaging stage show. Smartly changing the backdrop before beginning their set, the band was immediately able to command the audience.
The So So Glos seemed slightly matched on this tour; compared to the other acts, they are far less emo. The Glos blend NYC '70s punk with almost a British mod attitude and current-day stylistic choices tho create a fresh approach to punk rock. In short, I would listen to that shit in my car any day of the week.
Next up was the Front Bottoms. The singer had a much stronger voice than You Blew It!, infused with almost a singer-songwriter quality that gave them more of a unique edge. Lyrically, this band has a lot of interesting things to say.
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Finally the headliners took the stage, and from the opening chords, the audience was completely swept into Say Anything's world. Singer Max Bemis absolutely killed "Spidersong" and displayed why fans love him for his creativity and energy.
As the show rolled along, fans were particularly taken by favorites "The Writhing South," "Baby Girl, I'm a Blur," and "Do Better" -- not coincidentally all songs released in 2010 or before.
Speaking on the release of their June 10 record Hebrews, Bemis asked the crowd, "Anyone out there Jewish? Ahhh, I guess since it's Houston there's only like four Jews here." Pretty hilarious. The new music sounded good...and very similar to the old music. I guess if your emo ain't broke, don't fix it.
Overall, Say Anything's level of energy and passion was impressive; I wished at some point I had really "felt" this group so I could experience the show like the fans around me were. However, that DeLorean has sailed.
Personal Bias: Most post-pop-punk-emo sounds basically the same. I think the secret to loving any particular band or album heavily depends on having had some relatively deep personal experience with the material, otherwise the music is pretty generic.
The Crowd: Lots of Chuck Taylors (not surprising) and an abundance of boat shoes (somewhat interesting).
Overheard In the Crowd: "I'm just going to address the elephant in the room...I've got an infected pimple on my eye. Don't mind it."
Random Notebook Dump: The headliner became slightly cooler in my opinion when I stopped by merch and saw a T-shirt that said "You don't have to be Jewish to love Say Anything." Hilarious.
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