I remember the first time I received an advance copy of Say Anything's ...is a Real Boy in my mailbox at KLSU. It was different, but you could still cling to the tunes. Hell, the more I delved into it, I didn't just cling, I rebelled with it. I'm grown up now, and last night, mashed between the crowd of die-hard Say Anything fans, I felt like that old guy.
Prior to the show, Max Bemis and I took a walk around the block for our interview. Though I turned the recorder off, I had asked Bemis why he wrote a chorus such as "Crush'd," he simply said that he wrote what he felt. It's the blunt of how he felt about his now wife Sherri DuPree at the time. He's always written what he has felt, and says artists shouldn't hide their lyrics, but just be straightforward. I respect that.
While waiting in line, a kid at the front, from what I could understand, was sitting there since 5 p.m. that evening, was playing Say Anything songs on his guitar. Eventually guitarist (Jake or Jeff?) Turner came out and hung out with the kid for some time and brought the kid and his guitar on the bus.
Miniature Tigers started things off with a solid set of songs off Tell It To the Volcano, and closed with a new one called "Lolita." Every time I see/hear these guys, I'm pulled in. Definitely worth watching coming up into the new year.
Moneen took the stage in mayhem - a la a typical show - and blazed through a short set that included songs from The Red Tree and The World I Want to Leave Behind. They ended with a Kenny Bridges crowd walk and "The Passing of America" onslaught. Moneen is one of the most underrated bands out there, and well worth supporting their whole discography.
Eisley played through an even set of old favorites and a few new tunes from the Fire Kite E.P., including a new song, "Smarter," featuring Max Bemis on guitar. I spoke with Boyd DuPree (the band's manager and father) and said their new album will hopefully see light sometime in late winter/early Spring of next year, and there will be a headlining tour in support of it.
Before Say Anything took the stage, I was already being crushed under the weight of fans singing acappella versions of the band's catalog. Needless to say, once the band went into "Fed to Death," I quickly took my old bones out of the pit, like the Danny Glover of the show scene. Man, did those fans get into it. With a solid set across the board, Bemis asked the crowd if they even liked the new album, and an emphatic praise rushed across the venue. The band were into it, the fans were into it and this led to what every band that night says was the best show of the tour - and it seemed genuine, so much so, that the band's set list said Bemis was to start the encore with "Crush'd," but instead played solo to "I Want to Know Your Plans," a number that turned the crowd into a Disney sing-a-long. Throwing out the next planned track, the band played "Belt" for the first time on the tour and ended with "Admit It!" to close out the night as Bemis just hugged the front of the crowd.
Seeing that encore, and seeing that crowd made me believe I was 18 again - not starring Zac Efron - and discovering Say Anything for the first time. Whether you like, love or hate the band's career thus far, there's no denying that they hold honesty and integrity in their music. I saw that last night in Austin. Time can only tell of longevity, but if this aura keeps up, I'd say the band is poised to leave its footprint for a while.