Warped Tour 2010 In Photos: Suicide Silence

Suicide Silence
Vans Warped tour 2010
Midwest Bank Amphitheater – Chicago, IL

Suicide Silence is:

Mitch Lucker – Vocals
Chris Garza – Guitar
Mark Heylmun – Guitar
Dan Kenny – Bass
Alex Lopez – Drums


More photos from Suicide Silence after the jump…
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Warped Tour 2010 In Photos: Pennywise

Vans Warped Tour 2010
First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre – Chicago, IL


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Warped Tour 2010 In Photos: Hey Monday

Hey Monday
Vans Warped tour 2010
First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre – Chicago, IL

Hey Monday is:

Cassadee Pope – Vocals
Mike Gentile – Lead Guitar
Alex Lipshaw – Rhythm Guitar
Jersey Moriarty – Bass


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Warped Tour 2010 In Photos: Alkaline Trio

Alkaline Trio
Vans Warped Tour 2010
First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre – Chicago, IL


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In Photos: The Heavy

The Heavy
Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL


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Lawrence Arms Play For A Good Cause

Lawrence Arms
Subterranean – Chicago, IL
May 19, 2010


The Lawrence Arms (so generously) played a very small sold out show to benefit the victims of a recent attack in Chicago. It’s quite a sad story. Two young women were on their way home from a night out and brutally attacked with a baseball bat. You can read more about it here. Thank goodness the perpetrator was caught, but these poor girls are still left with some serious medical bills. The Larry Arms stepped in to help…

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Coheed and Cambria Leaves Crowd Wanting More

Coheed and Cambria
Congress Theatre – Chicago, IL
May 14, 2010


I remember watching Coheed and Cambria shows back in 2002, 2003 when they really hit the scene and began to garner a large following. It’s been a while since I’ve had the chance to catch them live, and I realize now what I once though was a large following was in fact only the beginning. What can best be described as legions of ardent followers filled Congress Theater for the performance. I heard it did not sell out, but if it didn’t by the time Coheed began to play then I’m not sure where they were planning on putting the extra people. It was listed as an all-aged show, and they weren’t kidding. I saw young teens, twenty-somethings, and even some fans that were old enough to be my parents.
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Circa Survive’s Long Overdue Return To Chicago!

Circa Survive
Congress Thatre – Chicago, IL
May 14, 2010

Oh, Hello… It’s been two years too long

I have to say, it’s kind of weird but also telling, that Circa Survive would be the first show that I review.   Indie isn’t a genre that I’ve leaned towards, as it is in direct opposition to my metal image. That said, the moment I heard their debut release “Juturna”, I was hooked. I was soooo excited for this show. The last album they released was On Letting Go in late 2007. Needless to say, myself and the audience included were way overdue for our Circa fix. 

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Did Public Image Limited disappoint Chicago?

Public Image Limited
House of Blues – Chicago, IL
May 1, 2010


I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go to the Public Image Ltd. show. They haven’t toured for nearly 20 years and I wasn’t sure how the band would mesh together. After much debate in my head and agonizing over the absurd fees that get tacked onto ticket prices, I decided to do it. And I’m happy I did! Once the band graced the stage a smile came over my face. Lyndon’s spiky hair and oversized pin striped suit reminded you that you were in the presence of a group that has been around since 1978 and is fronted by the infamous Johnny Rotten.

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Lovin’ is What I Got…for Sublime with Rome!

Sublime with Rome
Riviera Theatre – Chicago, IL
April 28, 2010

Sublime-with-Rome Rome Eric Bud 2010

So many things come to mind when I think of this incredible band. More than anything else Sublime reminds me of youth, fun and summertime.

I was first introduced to them in the late nineties and it was love at first listen. I’m sure the same goes for you. You probably first heard of the band in middle or high school. You’ve probably chugged a 40 oz. and smoked two joints while listening to Sublime more times that you can remember. Maybe you drove around late at night during the summer singing about poppin’ a cap in Sancho at the top of your lungs? I’m sure in some way or another Sublime provided the soundtrack to your underage debauchery.

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Everyone Agrees: OK Go Rocked Chicago!!

Metro – Chicago, IL
April 17, 2010


I have to admit, I’m only somewhat familiar with OK Go. Of course I’ve heard of them. I vividly remember when “Get Over It” was played non-stop on local radio (back when I actually used to listen to the radio). I’m sure you’ve all seen “The Treadmill Video” (“Here We Go Again”). That’s pretty much all the knowledge I went in with when I attended OK Go’s sold-out (hometown) Chicago show at the Metro last Saturday night.

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Justin Pierre of Motion City Soundtrack talks ‘My Dinosaur Life’, Lady Gaga and what’s next for MCS


I’m sure most of you are aware by now, but I am a BIG Motion City Soundtrack fan. I remember when I was handed a cute green robot sticker with the caption “I Am The Movie” back in 2002. I didn’t know who MCS was at the time. I liked the sticker I went ahead a put it up in my car.

Check out what Justin had to say after the jump…

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Everything Is Alright Whenever Motion City Soundtrack Comes To Chicago!

Motion City Soundtrack
House Of Blues – Chicago, IL


Okay, let me gush like a total fan kid. I LOVE Motion City Soundtrack. A lot. Like a lot, a lot. Their in my personal top 5 bands of ALL TIME. This was either my tenth or twelfth time seeing MCS live, there have been so many times I lost count. They consistently put on a high energy, fun show. I’ve never left a MCS show feeling lukewarm, I’ve always been left wanting more. This show was a perfect example of that, even if the crowd was kinda lame.

More MCS after the jump…
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A Rocket To The Moon Barely Lands In Chicago

A Rocket to the Moon
House of Blues – Chicago, IL

IMG 8685-2

A breathless, harried A Rocket To The Moon took the stage at Chicago’s House of Blues and looked relieved. Turns out it was rough getting there, the band went through four vans and this was only the second stop on the tour! But they made it, that’s what counts, right?

Photos and more after the jump…
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Motion City Soundtrack Returns To Chicago Tomorrow!

Three nights in Chicago just weren’t enough! Motion City Soundtrack returns to the Windy City on Wednesday April 7, 2010 at the House of Blues. During the three night stint in December 2009 we were treated to all the music from MCS’s past albums. Tomorrow night is the time for their brand new album, My Dinosaur Life, to shine. There are still some tickets available, get ’em before they’re gone! And they will be, MCS puts on a fantastic live show. Don’t miss this chance to see one of the best bands out there!!

Passion Pit Plays Biggest Show Ever In Chicago!

Passion Pit
The Congress Theatre – Chicago, IL

“This is the biggest show we’ve ever played” announced Passion Pit’s singer, Michael Angelakos, to the sold out crowd at Chicago’s Congress Theatre. The 4,000+ crowd, with arms raised high, responded with a roar to let the band know they were happy to be a part of the experience.

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Max Bemis called me on the phone and I touched myself…


When I found out I was going to interview Max Bemis of Say Anything (and Two Tongues and Perma), I was beyond ecstatic. When I first heard “Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too” (the inspiration for the title of this post) back in 2006, well, it was love at first note. I’ve been following Say Anything’s career ever since.

From Max’s personal ordeals to line-up changes, Say Anything has been through a lot since its inception. Many fans, like me, are aware and even feel like they’ve gone through it with them. Max’s lyrics are very personal and are capable of evoking a myriad of emotions. That’s one of my favorite things about this band.

Despite any rough patches along the way, the current incarnation of Say Anything is on point. They are polished, but not overly so. They seem ready to grow in a new direction without losing any of the qualities that make them awesome. Say Anything has a new self-titled album out and will be touring with Angels and Airwaves this spring.

Read all about my conversation with Max after the jump…

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Alkaline Armageddon in Chicago!

Alkaline Trio
Metro – Chicago, IL

Alkaline trio 11

There’s nothing like seeing a band on their home turf. The energy in the room is unparalleled. This was not my first time seeing Chicago’s hometown heroes, Alkaline Trio, but this was an especially awesome show. If you’re an Alk3 fan that remembers and misses the early days this tour is made for you.

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Lady Gaga has a Bad Romance with Chicago..

Lady GaGa
Rosemont Theatre – Chicago, IL

Editor’s note: Pictures of Lady GaGa are from her appearence at Monster Cable Booth at the Consumer Electronic show in Las Vegas 1/7/2010 except for the first picture.

Lady Gaga Rosemont Theatre Chicago

I LOVE Lady Gaga. A lot. So much, in fact, my friends get worried about me when I go on a Gaga tangent. I can go on and on about why I think she’s going to be bigger than Madonna one day and why she is the savior of today’s pop music. Gaga’s only 23 and look what she’s done in a little over a year! Amazing!

I saw The Lady back in March 2009. It was a fabulous spectacle and I was impatiently waiting to see her live again. Ending up at the Rosemont Theatre show (that I will eventually tell you about below) was an emotional ordeal! It kinda went like this:

September 2009: Fame Kills Tour announced!
Me: YAY! I hate Kanye, but can’t miss my Gaga…bought a ticket.
October 1, 2009: Fame Kills cancelled!
Me: WHAT?!?!? I almost had a heart attack; I can’t believe they cancelled the tour the same day I bought a ticket.
October 15, 2009: Monster Ball Tour announced! Three nights in Chicago at the Chicago Theatre!!
Me: WOOOO! I wanted to see Gaga solo anyways and the Chicago Theatre isn’t far from my place! I bought a ticket to the Sunday 1/10/10 show, the other two nights sold out in 5 minutes.
December 28, 2009: Monster Ball show at Chicago Theatre has been CANCELLED! More info to come…
Me: WTF??!?!?! I was devastated.
December 28, 2009: The show has been moved to the Rosemont Theatre. There will be special pre-sale 12/29/09 for previous ticket holders only, instructions to come…
Me: I had a doctor’s appointment during the presale and had to bribe my sister buy a new ticket for me. My doctor sure thought it was weird that I wouldn’t remove my cell from my hand during my exam. I explained to her I needed to be available for a life or death emergency situation…getting a ticket to Lady Gaga’s show! I’m a dedicated fan, what can I say!?!

Lady Gaga Monster Cable Booth CES

Luckily, I scored a ticket. WHEW, thanks sis! However, this ordeal left many, many Chicago fans upset. Many purchased tickets through EBay, StubHub and brokers. The original purchasers of these tickets were unaware they had to buy new tickets for a new venue. This left so many without tickets and wondering if they’d get their money back. Even the lucky ones that got new tickets, like me, were disappointed. There were only balcony tickets available through the presale, no floor tickets. Well, I can’t lie; my ticket was majorly upgraded in this process. I went from corner obstructed view to balcony 6th row center. I am an exception to the rule in this case.

Finally, Sunday January 10th came! I met with my friends which included two Lady Gagas and a Disco Phantom. We piled too many people in a car and off we went. I did not dress up like my friends, it was a Sunday! I was lazy in a tee shirt and jeans, but I really should’ve dressed up. You’ll find out why shortly…

Once we walked into the Rosemont Theatre lobby it was like we were transported to GagaLand. Okay, maybe it was more like a Gaga Carnival? There were disco sticks everywhere, hair bows, wigs of all colors, bubble outfits, razor blade sunglasses and a SERIOUS lack of pants (despite the freezing temperatures). Gaga’s little monsters went all out to honor The Lady! My favorite was a stunning gentleman dressed as VMA Gaga with blood dripping down his body. Fierce! P.S. To that dude in those tiny pink bottoms: Honey, you were a cutie, but you really could’ve shaved/waxed your ass, ya know?

Lady Gaga Monster Cable Booth CES

I arrived at 7:00 and the show was scheduled to begin at 7:30pm. After checking with some of the staff I found out Gaga didn’t go on until 9:30! I had two hours to kill, sorry openers, I just wasn’t feeling ya. I decided to head back to the lobby and check out more costumes. By this time two lines had formed and I had to know what the lines were for. Is Gaga on the other end? Is she giving autographs? Sadly, no. But this was even better…

At the end of one line you could take photos in a replica Orbit! Pretty cool. At the end of the second line was the reason I wished I had worn a costume: a professional photographer was taking Gaga inspired pictures for FREE! Thanks to Virgin Mobile, tour sponsors. I’ve never seen anything like that at a show before. It was a really awesome, interactive thing to do. I busted out a fierce face and Bad Romance claw hands. It was definitely fun! I would love to see more artists do that in the future!

Lady Gaga Monster Cable Booth CES

After my photo shoot I headed back to my seat to wait. I quickly reviewed my notes, which included a set list from Friday night’s show. I couldn’t sit still, I was so excited. I decided to roam around the aisles and visit with my friends. Suddenly the video screens lit up and played a video of Gaga. In the video she told us about The Re*Generation, an organization that helps homeless youth (ages 12 to 24). Those few minutes of Gaga sent the crowd into a frenzy! Once the video ended they went back to playing music and suddenly most of the crowd was dancing. In the aisles, seats, stairs. There were dance battles, cute gay boys grinding, break dancing and even the Rosemont Theatre staff was getting into the vibe. The staff encouraged us to get out of our seats and have a blast. The show hadn’t even started yet at this point, I was starting to imagine what it would be like once Gaga finally took the stage…

Lady Gaga Monster Cable Booth CESJust a few minutes later, I found out…

The lights dimmed, techno music blared (including a few lines from Cece Peniston’s “Finally”), a huge screen in front of the stage lit up with crazy graphic designs and then we heard, “I’m a free bitch”. That was it – the crowd erupted. I could barely hear the music, the cheers were deafening. The graphics on the screen faded into what looked like holographic graph paper as the first few notes of “Dance in the Dark” played. Then behind the hologram a lit up figure emerged from the back of the completely dark stage. I didn’t think the crowd could get any louder, but they did. The Lady started singing and danced in the dark for us!

Gaga quickly disappeared once the song was over and the entire stage lit up. The stage was surrounded by video screens, on both sides and at the back of the stage. It looked like she was in a box. The images and videos we were treated to between songs were absolutely stunning. Sometimes odd, but stunning nonetheless. After a few minutes a huge box appeared in the middle of the stage, the first few beats to “Just Dance” started to play and Gaga rose out of the box…with her keytar in hand. Finally, we got to lay our eyes on her!

Lady Gaga Monster Cable Booth CES

With each song the crowd grew louder and louder. I didn’t think it was possible! Everyone was on their feet and didn’t want to miss a minute of anything. Gaga joked that since it was her third night in Chicago we’d get to have sex with her that night. Sigh, the good ol’ three date rule. The girl has a sense of humor too, gotta love it. The see through hologram screen that she performed behind was then retracted.

The Lady continued through her set, for each new song there was a new outfit and new video background. Between some songs there were videos similar to her last tour; they were very Warhol-esque. My favorite being one that showed Gaga looking lovely in white with another girl standing next to her. Seconds later green projectile vomit came out of the girls mouth and landed on Gaga. I don’t know where she comes up with this stuff, it’s crazy, but I like it.

As her set progressed, the screens on the stage were pulled up to reveal a hidden band. We got to see them for a couple songs, but the screens were lowered through most of the show. I’m going to use this phrase again and again, but it was so visually stunning. I’ve never seen anything like The Monster Ball set, that is for sure. Although, I do have a bit of a complaint. The downtown between each song was a bit long. Lady Gaga is known for fashion, she changed outfits for almost every song, but it really compromised the flow of the show. During her last tour she made outfit changes while we watched a video, that’s cool. This time around sometimes we were left with only a remix to listen to while she changed. Um, a remix of the song she was about to perform! I had high expectations for you, Gaga, to have an action packed show. You brought your B+ game, I know you can bring your A game. Next time, yes?

My favorite part of the show was the acoustic songs. Not only do I love “Speechless” to no end, but seeing The Lady sitting at her piano… It just shows what an amazing talent she is and I loved it. She started “Speechless” sitting, by the end of the song she was standing on the piano bench and she never missed a note. During the acoustic version of “Poker Face” she stopped to let us know, “If you don’t like the show you can fucking leave!” She wasn’t kidding, she pulled out a prop machine gun and shot at the audience. When she ran out of ammo she went right back to playing “Poker Face”. I’d love to see more theatrics like this in her next tour.

After being treated to more songs from “The Fame”, weird images and videos – our night with Gaga was coming to an end. She started the encore with “Eh, Eh”. Seriously? I mean, it’s a good song, I really like it. But as an encore? Okay. Gaga briefly disappeared and then reemerged in the Orbit to finish the show with “Bad Romance”, which was amazing. She gave us a bow and it was over. Or so we thought, we were treated to one last video. It was Gaga getting “Dad” tattooed on her shoulder, which was quite sweet.

Before exiting the theatre I made my final notes and reviewed the set list I brought with me. I was one upset little monster, TWO SONGS WERE CUT FROM SUNDAY’S PERFORMANCE. Gaga!?!? How dare you! After all the drama with cancellations and everything else – you gypped those of us that attended the Chicago Sunday night show. Not only that, she cut “So Happy I Could Die” and “Paper Gangsta”, which are only two of her best songs…ever. I was so pumped for this concert, I told ya’ll I love Gaga, but I was SO mad that songs got cut. For someone who cares very much about her fans and is vocal about it, that’s not behavior I’d expect. You owe me two songs, I will not forget!

Despite that hiccup and the lagging time between songs – this was definitely one of the most amazing pop shows ever. It was not quite the electro pop opera I had hoped, but I definitely did not leave disappointed. Well, except for those cut songs. Unlike many of her peers – Gaga sang live the whole time, even while dancing. That is one of my favorite qualities about her. This ain’t no Britney show where you get to listen to a CD with thousands of other people. Gaga and her show are the real deal!

If you get a chance to go to a Lady Gaga show, which is hard as her tickets are in high demand, you MUST go. You will be treated to something spectacular. That’s all you need to know.

Losing my head with Off With Their Heads at The Beat Kitchen

Off With Their Heads
The Beat Kitchen – Chicago, IL

Have you heard of Off With Their Heads? I only first heard of them back in September when I was able to score a spot on the list for a Riot Fest secret show with Pegboy. The Minnesota natives opened for Pegboy that night and I liked what I heard right away. Think good old fashioned punk rock with catchy melodies and gritty vocals. You’ll find yourself bobbing your head and rockin’ along in no time…without realizing it. I enjoyed them so much that I picked up a couple of their CDs at the show, “Hospitals” and “From The Bottom”.

Unfortunately I missed Off With Their Heads during Riot Fest, but I was glad I could catch them in Chicago again only a couple weeks later. After getting all emo at The Vic with Say Anything I jumped back on the Belmont bus and headed West to The Beat Kitchen for Off With Their Heads. Friday night double header!

The Beat Kitchen is an awesome, small intimate venue. Capacity is only 275, we’re talking tiny. Once I arrived I made my way through the bar/restaurant area and headed into the back room. The crowd was already in full swing and enjoying The Copyrights. I could tell it was going to be a good show.

The Copyrights finished, the crowd moved in towards the stage and everyone was ready and waiting for Off With Their Heads. After a short break, to switch out some instruments, singer Ryan Young (no relation) and the band took the stage. Just as I experienced the first time around, these guys don’t mess around. No theatrics, excessive story telling or anything of that sort. The concept is simple – just four dudes and some punk rock.

They started out with “I Am You” and never stopped rocking from there. They played straight through 13 songs never taking a break. Well, except for those few breaths Ryan took, he was getting tired towards the end of the show. With their touring schedule it’s not hard to imagine! It seems like they are always touring, which is awesome, be sure to check ‘em out when they’re in your neck of the woods.

As they played through their set fists were in the air, everyone was singing along and the mosh pit near the stage engulfed almost half the crowd at times. There were no flinchers in this crowd, just healthy doses of pushing back. Towards the end of “Go On Git Now” Ryan threw the mic into the crowd and the fan that finished the last few lines of the song was his sound alike! It was crazy! They also performed a new song, “Drive”, and I liked it. They don’t stray from their existing style in the new song and that’s a good thing.

“Seriously, just two more songs” and then they finished the show with two of my favorites, “Die Today” (my Monday morning anthem) and “S.O.S.”. And that was it. End show. Good shit.

It turns out the band doesn’t use a set list. They just wing it, which is pretty cool. I attempted to put one together, the best that I could, but I am missing a couple songs. My apologies.

1. I Am You
2. Until The Day…
3. Go On Git Now
4. For The Four
5. Keep Falling Down
6. Jackie Lee
7. Janie
8. Drive
9. ??
10. Fuck This, I’m Out
11. ??
12. Die Today
13. S.O.S.

If you like gritty, catchy punk rock – I highly recommend you check out Off With Their Heads! You can find them here:
MySpace or Facebook

Say Anything Declares Chicago As Best Show Ever

Say Anything
The Vic Theatre – Chicago, IL
October 23, 2009

Say Anything The Vic Theatre - Chicago, IL October 23, 2009

 “Duuuuude, I’m gonna rock so fucking hard. I’m gonna rock hard as hell, dude!” said the teenager behind me at The Vic Theatre in Chicago as we waited for Say Anything to take the stage. Now, I wouldn’t consider myself a “super fan” like the young man that couldn’t stop talking about how hard he intended to rock. However, I am quite a big fan of Say Anything. Every time they’ve been to Chicago since 2006, I’ve been there. I’ve enjoyed them at The Congress Theatre, The Metro and The House of Blues. This was the first time Max and the boys headlined at The Vic and it is not a show I will soon forget!!

It’s rare for Say Anything to sell out in Chicago and The Vic is a smaller venue than the others they have played. This time around they did sell out and I could tell the moment I stepped off the Belmont bus. The kids attending the show invaded the intersection of Belmont and Sheffield. It was like a Say Anything street festival, except the only vendors were ticket scalpers!

More photos of Say Anything after the jump…

Say Anything The Vic Theatre - Chicago, IL October 23, 2009The crowd seemed rather bored with the openers and the buzz of conversations filled the venue, rather than the music. Well, until Say Anything’s lead singer, Max Bemis, snuck out to play guitar with his wife’s band, Eisley, for one song. Max’s brief appearance sent the crowd into a frenzy. Once he disappeared the anticipation and impatience grew. Eisley performed a couple more songs and once they left the stage, the kids started chanting. The crowd was ready. Finally, the lights dimmed. Pieces of the cartoon inspired metropolis set began to light up. The crowd squealed with delight, the moment was finally upon us. The infectious beat of “Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too” began to play, the stage lit up, the roar of the crowd was deafening and out came: Max Bemis (vocals), Alex Kent (bass), Jake Turner (guitar, backing vocals), Parker Case (keyboard, guitar, backing vocals), Jeff Turner (guitar, backing vocals) and Coby Linder (drums).

The boys rocked matching outfits, obviously inspired by the cover of their upcoming self-titled album, Say Anything, that comes out November 3rd. Holy makeover, Batman! The guys looked more like a polished boy band than the emo/punk/indie band I was used to. They wore crisp white shirts, black slacks, matching tennis shoes and almost identical clean cut, slicked back haircuts. Not only did they look even more in sync (Haha, get it? ‘Nsync! HAHA) than before, but it turned out they played the same way. They took their places on stage. Max began to belt out the lyrics to “Wow…”, but it was hard to hear him over the audience. Where did all these fans come from and how did they know all the words? I already mentioned that I’ve been to many Say Anything shows, but this show, this crowd – the vibe was unreal! It was unlike any other Say Anything show I’ve been to. The band was extremely animated. Say Anything has always put on energetic, fun performances, but they really stepped it up this time around. The crowd hung off of every word, lyric, note that came out of Max’s mouth.

They proceeded to rock out old and new songs alike. The set list went like this:
“Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too”
“Alive with the Glory of Love”
“It’s a Metaphor, Fool”
“Shiksa (Girlfriend)”
“Hate Everyone”
“Yellow Cat/Red Cat”
“Have at Thee”
“This Is Fucking Ecstasy”
“Baby Girl, I’m a Blur”
“Mara and Me”
“Slowly Through a Vector”
“The Futile”
“Admit It!!!”

Say Anything The Vic Theatre - Chicago, IL October 23, 2009

The band was incredibly tight and played better than I can remember. They interacted with each other more and more with each song. It genuinely looked like they were having a blast. As they neared the end of “Shiksa” Max had an all-knowing smirk on his face while looking down at the pit, I think at that moment he began to see that this sold-out Chicago crowd was filled with super fans. The energy that exuded from the stage bled into the pit which bled up into the seats and right back to the stage. I’ve never seen Say Anything command a crowd like they did at The Vic. The band members really took turns multitasking this time around as well, especially Parker. He went from keyboard, to guitar, to singing, to dancing and back – all in one song. I think this is an excellent representation that these guys are really working on honing their craft. Alex also got to take a turn singing and joined Max in belting out “Have at Thee”. Many members of the band chimed in singing during the new song, “Mara and Me”. These guys bounced off the walls as the show went on. They acted out parts of songs with their instruments. They jumped, flipped around and just rocked harder than I’ve ever witnessed.

There was a hilarious moment when Jake flipped, almost fell off the stage and almost knocked Parker and his keyboard over. There was a brilliant save by Parker and Jake ended up landing on his back between Parker’s legs. Meanwhile, neither stopped playing. What a save!! Max was also blasted in the face with a bottle of water. Max later thanked the fan that made that rude gesture, it turned out Max was hot and the water helped to cool him down. Who knew something so rude could be appreciated? Once the band finished “The Futile” they left the stage and everything got dark. Immediately the crowd began chanting, “ONE MORE SONG!!” There were screams, squeals, whistles and yells from every fan in the venue. Suddenly, parts of the set started lighting up. Once again, the crowd erupted with cheers and to their delight was one Mr. Max Bemis and his acoustic guitar. He dedicated a song, “Crush’d”, from their forthcoming album to his wife. It was a tender lovely performance that ended with Max putting his microphone into the audience to let them finish the song.

As soon as Max finished “Crush’d” his band members joined him on stage for the actual finale. They rocked through “Spores”, but everyone went crazy when they began to play “Admit it!!!” The high energy performance ended with an endless number of stage divers, crowd surfers galore, a kid restrained by security for trying to sing with Max, Max being restrained by security as the crowd tried to pull him into the pit. Once again, since this crowd was obviously full of super fans, Max threw his mic into the crowd as they finished the song. Literally, kids held the microphone in the pit and finished singing “Admit It!!!” It was amazing and definitely one of those special shows that many of these kids will remember for years to come. I am very happy and thankful that Say Anything still chooses to perform “Admit It!!!” as their finale. The irony of the crowd of wannabe hipster kids singing that song never ceases to amuse me. Let’s get a little objective now, shall we? First and foremost – I am so proud of Say Anything and how far they’ve come. Pardon me while I become a jaded, old Bitter Betty for a moment…

Say Anything The Vic Theatre - Chicago, IL October 23, 2009I think they’ve jumped the shark a little bit. I’ve listened to the few songs released from their upcoming album. Despite reports that this album is more “mature” and a progression, I find it to be less mature and a bit boring. However, my opinion is solely based on hearing “Hate Everyone”, “Property” and “Eloise”. These new songs don’t speak to me like the songs on “…Is a Real Boy”, “…Was a Real Boy” and “In Defense of the Genre” did. “Mara and Me” has promise as does “Crush’d”, but they lack the grittiness that I’m used to getting from Say Anything. That grittiness has always been packaged in an up tempo, poppy package, but still had more edge lyrically than any other emo band out there. Something is missing from these new songs. I hope I can change my mind once I hear the new album in its entirety, but I’m not counting on it.

The new matchy-matchy clean cut look is cute, but if I wanted to see five or six clean cut guys in matching outfits, well, I’d go see the Backstreet Boys or New Kids on the Block. Can ya feel me? Again, I am so proud of Say Anything, but I liked them less polished and a little more punk. I find this exact moment in Say Anything’s career to be most like Green Day and Blink 182 right as they were about to hit it big. Say Anything would be catapulting to the number one slot on TRL and holding on to it, ya know, if there still was a TRL. Long story short…

This was the best and most heartbreaking Say Anything show I have ever attended. Go see them if you want to attend an extremely tight, entertaining, fun and catchy emo/pop/punk show. If you’re a long time fan, be prepared to be a little bipolar (like Max) and simultaneously love/hate this new super polished incarnation of Say Anything.

Photos of Say Anything in Chicago at the Vic Theater:

Written by: Stacy Young