Remember the clever ways you used to take that awful sealing sticker off the top of CDs? Maybe take it apart from the bottom and flip it up and peel it back or just take a kitchen knife to it… That feeling you got when you finally managed to get it out of the jewel case and into your CD player. You impatiently awaited for the laser to read the disc and begin playing the first song on the album. I remember the first time I heard Say Anything’s Is A Real Boy… My hairs still make their best effort to lift the weight of themselves when I hear the opening song, “Belt.” “And the record begins with a song of rebellion.” That, I can’t help but nostalgically rock out to.
There was still a line at 7:45 when I arrived with 6:00 pm doors. I entered to the The So So Glos delivering nervous intensity under their simple vinyl banner across the stage. The lead singer of The Front Bottoms came out to sing a song with them. I was sober. It was a Thursday and there were shitty jokes.
My friend recited, “Have you heard of the new bird flu that’s going around? It’s called ‘cherpes.’ Yeah, it sucks, it’s a ‘canarial’ disease.” The lead singer of The Front Bottoms had one for us too that he had heard in a diner earlier that day. “What do you call someone who never farts in public? A private tutor.” My internal voice couldn’t help from making the “whamp-whamp” sound as I shamefully giggled.
This was my first time seeing The Front Bottoms. Opening with the dancey, sentimental, fan-favorite “Flashlight,” the Orlando audience erupted, displaying a clear fondness for the band with raised hands, crowd surfing, and choir-like screaming of lyrics which remained constant throughout their entire set. “Please fall asleep so I can take pictures of you and hang them in my room.”
They continued their set with the must-play-in-Florida song “Backflip.” “I’ll move to Florida, and I’ll buy a brand new pick-up truck.” To my surprise, the lead singer, Brian, wielded an acoustic guitar the entire set. Surprising because they brought the rock so fucking hard. “We got a lot more blow up things since we’ve been to Florida last,” Brian said in reference to their floor-fan powered stage props. Here’s a shitty pic:
I really want to see The Front Bottoms (TFB) cover a Frightened Rabbit song. Brian’s vocal melodies carry many similarities to Frightened Rabbit’s Scottish lead singer, Scott Hutchinsons’. TFB are attracting the kind of audience who takes loyal root in them, with their ofference of shameless out-of-key vocals and raw emotion layered upon overzealous indie pop-punk. Their drummer, Matt, keeps the energy high throughout their performance with solid whips to his one crash cymbal and hi-hats, and interesting displays of flashiness like throwing drum sticks across the stage during “Maps.” “Rock n’ Roll, Rock n’ Roll, you probably don’t understand what I mean.” Well, “Au Revior” provides a pretty good live example of what it means to The Front Bottoms.
Their most popular song, “Twin Size Mattress,” is wistfulness at it’s best for a mid-twenty year old who’s a long since fan of indie rock n’ roll and clever lyrical wordplay. Especially with a subtle Brand New reference embedded in it (who sold out their show at HOB Orlando in what seemed like sixty seconds despite the fact they haven’t released a record in almost five years). We sang along “to the ‘Jaws Theme Swimming’ in the background…” as TFB closed out their Orlando set.
With a band like Say Anything or Saves The Day, people tend to care less and less about what the actual lineup is, and more about their fixtured frontman. But holy shit, Fred Mascherino is a touring member of Say Anything right now! It was great seeing Fred’s familiar face who is best known for being in a few bands over the past decade like Breaking Pangaea, Terrible Things, The Color Fred, and this little band called Taking Back Sunday. Fred took lead guitar duties and delivered backup vocals for Max.
This made for a Say Anything show that was a little different than the normal “circus.” Although, it is simply fun not knowing what to expect each time you see the same band. Max mentioned in a facebook post in mid-May that the upcoming touring members of Say Anything were “almost like an all-star lineup, and definitely people that I’m almost intimidated to share the stage with.” He also said “all those guys are such great performers, they tend to rock out quite a bit, which jives with the circus that is a Say Anything show.”
There were a lot of new songs in the Orlando setlist from their 2014 release Hebrews. What would happen if the lead singer of Saves The Day, The Get Up Kids, and Say Anything sang a song together? It would sound like the last 45 seconds of the opening track of Say Anything’s new album Hebrews and be called “John Mcclane.” It’s no barbershop trio, but it sure is chalk full of emo greatness.
In addition to Hebrews songs, Say Anything mixed in a good amount of tunes Orlando was eager to hear like “Spider Song,” “Baby Girl, I’m a Blur,” and “Cemetery.” The crowd peaked out my audio mic on my Galaxy S4 during my recording of “Cemetery.”
Each member of Say Anything had a smile pasted across their face between their bouncy onstage dances. They likely fed off the rowdy audience who were climbing over one another yelling lyrics towards Max as he pointed the mic at fans. Here’s a shitty pic:
Powerful sing-alongs from bands you love almost cause you to forget how shitty the sound is at The Beacham for a minute. The Beacham is actually a raked theater, meaning the floor slants down toward the stage like Plaza Live. However, The Beacham owners decided to build a wooden floor to level out the downward slant, thus eliminated it’s “raked” feature and possibly affecting the sound. Next time you’re in there, near the stage, know that you’re not standing on the original floor and don’t jump too hard.
“Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too” is a song difficult not to dance to. If you’re familiar, try to contain yourself from finishing the line “If I die and go to hell real soon…” Say Anything ended their set with this 2006 classic and Orlando sang. Loud.
Max came back out solo with an acoustic guitar to play the first two songs of the encore. He began the encore with one of my favorites, “I Want To Know Your Plans.” I’ve thought the lyrics many of nights with those who are now exes, “I want to know your plans, and how involved in them I am…” “…No more fighting, this is all just a waste of our time.” Max performed this song acoustically prior to going into the Old Dirty Bastard cover of “I got your money.”
Max’s knack for perfect annunciation combined with his concrete straight face and a greater majority of the audience singing the words “Hey, dirt-y, baby I got your money, don’t you worry” made for a difficult time keeping my laughter suppressed. Yes, Max, you got Orlando’s money, and it appeared to be worth every red cent.
The entire band came back onstage to perform one last song, “Belt.” Always being the first song I heard when I slipped the Is A Real Boy… CD in, “Belt” was a longtime Say Anything fan’s best song to close the night with. “What say you and all your friends step up to my friends in the alley tonight? Yeah!” They still play it just as hard as they did in this 2006 video with Jesse Lacey and John Nolan coming on stage to sing the end.
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