Wednesday, October 31, 2007
forgot to link to my Say Anything preview in Time Out, which resideth here. tho it kinda don't matter too much, since the show in question was *tonight*!
attended w/ Laal. had great deals of fun. this one was a first on several levels. had not seen Say Anything before, but had also not been to Hammerstein Ballroom before. i generally despise the vicinity of my office, so i bolt as quickly as possible, but tonight i had to stick around b/c the Hammerstein is like four minutes from where i work. for those who have not had the privilege, picture Webster Hall reimagined as an airplane hangar and you're part of the way there. this place is fucking HUGE, cavernous, etc. i felt like i was at a track meet or something.
it would have been dumb not to expect a raging teenybopper crowd at this one, but the whole MySpace Music Tour thing caught me a bit off-guard. i had kinda half-registered the fact that the site was sponsoring the tour (other bands were Hellogoodbye and Polysics, both of whom i missed, and the godawful Young Love, who were like a lobotomized version of the Cars or somethin.). i name-checked MySp in my article above, but it was sort of more a reference to the whole emo zeitgeist than a specific nod to that online community. but lo and behold, there it was: manifested in a gargantuan MySpace-logo-festooned tour bus parked on 34th St and in actual MySpace-equipped kiosks stationed throughout the venue. as if people need another excuse or opportunity to fucking go online...
and there were of course references sprinkled throughout the set. one of the guitar players was like, "So how's everyone enjoying the MYSPACE MUSIC TOUR?!?" he was totally serious. Max Bemis (lead singer) was a bit less tacky; asking if people had checked out the songs from their new album, he said, "If you've checked our MYSPACE page anytime recently, you might have heard this one." his tone was gently mocking, but yeah, the pluggery was intense. (as was the camera-phone-video proliferation. jesus christ, you can probably view every second of this show from like 7000 different angles on YouTube as we speak...)
as was Say Anything's set. the band is a joy to watch. Max really works the crowd and sings his guts out, but he's got a lot of help in the form of, count 'em, FOUR guitarists, all of whom double on vocals. yeah, a lot of motion of the stage. all the guys look so young, especially the drummer, who couldn't have been 20.
the band was in total crowd-please mode setlist wise. about 70% of the tunes were taken from "...Is a Real Boy," Say Anything's 2004 breakthrough disc, which over the past few months i have come to regard as one of the catchiest, funniest and most insanely ambitious things ever to emerge from the alt-rock movement. "Belt," "Woe" (Laal's fave), "Every Man Needs a Molly," "Yellow Cat (Slash) Red Cat," "The Futile" and of course the two biggies, "Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too" and "Alive with the Glory Love." the audience was screaming along with every word, and i gotta say, it was pretty amazing to hear "Alive," dealing as it does with the Holocaust--my oh-so-eloquent preview sez the song "recasts [Bemis's] grandparents’ persecution in Nazi Germany as a teenage sex romp--screamed by a bunch of young'ns: "Our Treblinka is alive with the glory of love!"
a few tunes from the new disc, "In Defense of the Genre," were played, and i gotta say, i'm pretty happy it was only a few. the disc (actually it's two discs) has been sort of dudlike for me. out of almost 30 songs, i only really like two or three, which is pretty paltry. it's still very ambitious and grandly conceived, but a lot of the awesome self-deprecation and quirky humor that makes "Real Boy" so great is just totally missing. as are the badass hooks. though the song "Shiksa (Girlfriend)"--currently spinning at, whaddya know!, the band's MYSPACE PAGE, which (OMG!) actually has a scan of my frickin article--is fucking killer, a really vicious slice of sexually intoxicated emo. hope i come around on the rest of the disc b/c i've fucking worn out my copy of "Real Boy."
you've got to hear that CD. if you haven't checked the two "hits," please do so.
(that one is absolutely hysterical! brilliant, presumably autobiographical lyrics about a vegetative phone-sex addict:
"If I die and go to hell real soon / It will appear to me as this room / And for eternity I'd lay in bed / In my boxers, half-stoned with a pillow under my head...")
and "Alive..."--a less-inspired video, but a song for the ages, no b.s.:
that one gives you a nice view of the long-maned bassist's epic hair-flips, which were in total daredevil effect tonight.
cool show, and so short! less than an hour start-to-finish.