Last November, I saw Say Anything perform one of my favorite albums, …Is a Real Boy, at House of Blues Orlando for the 10th Anniversary of its release. When I heard they were already returning just seven months after their last show, I wasn’t immediately excited to see them again. Seriously, what could top hearing your favorite Say Anything album in its entirety?
As I was leaving the Dashboard Confessional/Third Eye Blind show a few weeks prior, I was handed a flier for the Say Anything show that read, “A loud interpretation of Say Anything songs, old and new featuring both a string quartet and guitars.” I’ll be honest, I somehow missed the release of Say Anything’s new album, Hebrews, that was released in June 2014, and I’m sorry I did. The album was recorded without the use of guitars, replacing them with a string quartet. The result is an album of completely original songs that breathe new life into the band. My faith was renewed in Say Anything after listening to this album and I was once again excited to attend their next show.
I arrived at House of Blues shortly after Cymbals Eat Guitars took the stage. I saw them open for Brand New at House of Blues about a year ago and have been listening to their music ever since. One thing’s for sure about this band, the album does not do them justice. Make sure to catch these guys live to receive the whole Cymbals Eat Guitars experience. I’m hoping to see them do a headlining show at The Social or The Beacham sometime soon.
Modern Baseball is a band that I got into days before the show. After seeing them live, I’m already anxiously awaiting their return so I can sing along with the crowd. I enjoyed every minute of this set without knowing many songs, so I can only imagine how much fun their show would be knowing every word. The band’s humorous on-stage banter proved these guys were an all-around fun band. They even dedicated a song to everyone’s favorite record store, Park Ave Cd’s (watch a live performance of “The Weekend” below).
Say Anything was minutes away from taking the stage, but the wait dragged on for what seemed like hours as I anxiously awaited their set with the string quartet. The Orlando show took place only a few nights into the tour, so everything I was about to see was completely new to me. The band started their set with the opening track from Hebrews, “John McClane.” This song set the tone for the night as it showcased the fierceness of the string quartet in a huge way with front-man Max Bemis pouring his heart out all over the stage. By the end of the song,
I knew I was in for a very different kind of Say Anything show, and I was more than alright with that.
I soon got a taste of some older songs that were accompanied by the string quartet, “Skinny Mean Man,” “Hate Everyone,” and “Woe” were performed all in a row. From the moment I heard about this tour, I had hoped that they would play “Woe.” Not only is it one of my favorite songs from …Is a Real Boy, but it also melded perfectly with the string quartet. The end product was one of the most heartfelt performances of “Woe” that I have seen in the last ten years.
“Judas Decapitation” was the first song that really caught my ear on Hebrews, because it introduced me to unique sound of the record. This song made great use of the string quartet, leaving guitarist Parker Case able to focus strictly on keyboard duties. This show was one of the rare occasions where I was actually looking forward to hearing songs from the new album instead of them becoming “bathroom songs” 😛 (check out “Judas Decapitation” from Hebrews below).
The night wouldn’t be complete without a string quartet rendition of one of their biggest hits, “Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too.” The song was great, but by this point I was starving to hearing more new songs performed live. I got my wish when the band played “The Shape of Love to Come” which features Max Bemis’s wife and Eisley member, Sherri DuPree Bemis. Sherri usually goes on tour with Say Anything but this time she was home with their daughters Lucy and Coraline, so Max asked the crowd to take a video of this song and tweet it to her.
The night winded down with Max jumping down into the crowd for an up-close and personal version of “Ahhh…Men,” giving it his all until the very last note. This night more than exceeded my expectations; it solidified my allegiance to Say Anything. This is a band that is essentially growing with its fans by breathing new life into every project they do and they still stay true to their roots. As long as Say Anything continues to remain innovative with their music and tours, I will be there with open arms to embrace it for years to come.
Emo Mitch wanted me to mention a quote that he caught from Max Bemis:
If you have a broken heart, you have a broken heart. It lasts for the rest of your life.”
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