Friday Night: Say Anything at Warehouse Live
Friday night, emo/pop punk heroes Say Anything arrived in Houston at Warehouse Live, the latest in a long string of dates on this tour for their new album Anarchy, My Dear. It was a special show for the fans as well as the band, as frontman Max Bemis, a resident of Tyler (Texas), proclaimed a sense of homecoming.
In the middle of the show, he spoke not only of his wife's family being in the crowd, but of how glad he was to be at home and able to see everyone -- even his dog, whom he dedicated a song to.
Of course, Bemis and his band were there for more than just a visit. They were there to play. For an hour and a half, they did just that. In fact, they played their asses off. Bemis turned 28 on April 6 and he may be looking a little bit more mature these days than when Say Anything began, but his skills as a singer and a performer are unabated.
As soon as the band walked on the stage, the fans in the crowd were already screaming. A round of applause later and the band burst into the opening notes of "Spidersong" from their breakthrough album Is a Real Boy, followed by Bemis letting out his own screams, his voice no worse for wear over the years.
Then for that hour and a half, they burned through a set list made up from a fanboy's dream. They covered the hits, such as their latest singles, "Burn a Miracle" and "Say Anything," fan favorites such as "Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too" and "Belt," but then to everyone's surprise started busting out deep cuts like "In Defense of the Genre," the lengthy title cut of their 2007 album, and even obscure B-side "Slumming It with Johnny."
When I spoke to Bemis recently, he said he no longer felt like a flash in the pan with the band's recent success. If one were to judge by the crowd at Warehouse Live, his words have certainly been vindicated.
As an old fan, I went in expecting the crowd to be made up mostly of people like myself, people who had been listening to Say Anything for years, and probably a great deal who -- unlike me -- had lost touch with the band's more recent work. In fact, I found myself singing along to the newer songs surrounded by groups of 16- and 17-year-old fans, belting out every word.
When the band played their older work, I found myself singing with scattered older people who still remembered that stuff, while the younger kids looked on wondering. It was a strange but nice experience and a reminder that Say Anything has surpassed all the expectations of a band of their kind, transcending their genre and continuing to find young, new fans that will stand by them.
It was also nice just to see kids actually supporting a band with integrity.