Say Anything is a legendary group with iconic songs and a following of die-hard fans. They didn’t play their hits last night, they didn’t have to.
I’ve seen Say Anything at least 8 times now. Every show has been close to the same as far as the set list goes. They were never a super popular band by most people’s standards. They never had a song on the radio and never played at a huge arena. But in my world, they are legends. They are one of those quintessential pop-punk bands that had an influence on a lot of the bands that followed them. That being said, they have a list of songs that they always play. The songs that people want them to play. Those were the songs that Max Bemis, their singer, listed off saying he wouldn’t be playing last night. It was a show of deep cuts, unreleased songs, the songs that after seeing them multiple times, I always wanted to hear live.
Max Bemis is a character to say the least. I remember a show I saw back in Des Moines when I was in high school where he refused to look at the crowd. He literally stood in the corner of the venue and sang into the microphone. Bemis’ mental health issues were always in the spotlight. Everyone who was in the scene knew that he was unpredictable. That’s part of the charm though. Even though the set lists had really been the same in all of the shows I had seen, other than last night, you never knew what kind of attitude Bemis would have. Maybe that’s why I keep going back and wanting more.
Last night, Say Anything shared the stage with a string quartet. What an awesome idea. I think that because of that quartet, they were able to do those deep cuts. I never realized how many of their songs featured strings until last night. It really added that little something to the music. They could have easily just tracked the string parts and played it back on a laptop but that wouldn’t have sounded the sound. It wouldn’t have left an impression on the crowd.
Even though the crowd was older, they were crazy. The second that Say Anything started, the crowd erupted. There was pushing and shoving and kicking. People were falling on the ground left and right but they were instantly plucked up and put back on their feet. That’s the best thing about Minnesota shows. You know that whole “Minnesota Nice” thing? It’s true. I’ve been to concerts around the country and this is the only place where everything literally freezes when someone goes down in the pit. Everything stays at a stand still until that person is back on their feet with a pat on their back.
I had an amazing time last night. I got to discover some new awesome music during Hard Girls’ and Cymbals Eat Guitars’ sets. I got to see Modern Baseball, a band that I have been hopelessly addicted to for months now. Last but not least, I got to re-live my youth during the Say Anything set. I got everything anyone could ever ask for out of a concert in one night.
Venue: First Avenue Mainroom
Sausage Fest Meter- 7 out of 10
Average Age of the Crowd- 27
Crowd Surfers- 3 including the guitarist from Say Anything
Broken Bones- None
Drunkards Taken Out By Security- 2
Found in the Pit- Nothing