Co-headlining tours can be disastrous. Too often, there is one band that consistently outshines and outdraws the other. Further, there are times when the respective audiences don't mesh. These issues were not a problem for the Say Anything/Motion City Soundtrack tour, however. The pairing was a match made in heaven when it rolled through the House of Blues in Boston on November 8.
Opening the show was A Great Big Pile of Leaves. The Brooklyn trio's indie rock sound doesn't match the pop punk tone of the rest of bill, but they refused to let that affect their performance. Their 25-minute set was especially impressive considering that this is the first real tour.
Saves the Day was up next. They have been an active group longer than the other bands on the tour, but they were nothing but happy to be part of such a great package. Frontman Chris Conley's showed off his soaring pipes throughout the 45-minute offering, with a set featuring a mix of everything from old favorites ("Rock Tonic Juice Magic", "Third Engine") to brand new songs from the band's forthcoming Daybreak.
Motion City Soundtrack was scheduled to play next, but the audience received a special treat that night. The band entered the stage playing the pulsating beat of Nine Inch Nails' "Head Like a Hole". They were joined by Say Anything vocalist Max Bemis to sing the spot-on cover.
Following the song, the band explained that their singer, Justin Pierre, had lost his voice. In lieu of canceling the show, they recruited some of their talented tourmates to fill in. While some members of the audience seemed disappointed to not see the band in their full capacity, most were excited at the prospect of what other surprises were in store.
And the surprises kept coming. The Starting Line frontman Kenny Vasoli, who is filling in on bass for Say Anything on the tour, sang the next two songs, including fan favorite "My Favorite Accident." He would return later in the set to sing three more tunes.
Other guests included A Great Big Pile of Leaves' energetic singer Pete Weiland, Say Anything guitarist Jake Turner, Saves the Day drummer Claudio Rivera, Saves the Day guitarist Arun Bali, and Conley. The latter concluded the unique engagement with atypical closer "Hold Me Down".
Not every guest knew all of the words to their respective songs due to the last-minute nature of the endeavor, but they all seemed to enjoy themselves - and the audience was more than happy to fill in any blanks. Pierre didn't make a peep all night, but he rocked out harder than ever on his guitar to make up for it.
Say Anything had a tough act to follow, but they managed to match the fun of Motion City Soundtrack's performance. They kicked it off with "Crush'd", an awkward choice for an opener which they made work. Their hour and fifteen-minute set contained many mid-tempo, beat-heavy songs ("Baby Girl, I'm a Blur", "Do Better"), but the crowd went wild whenever they busted out a faster tune.
The set contained a couple of surprise treats as well. The band played "Colorblind" from their little-known, self-released debut, Baseball. They were also joined by members of Saves the Day to perform "Crawl" from Two Tongues, a collaborative project between Bemis and Conley. The set ended on a high note with a rousing rendition of the anthemic "Admit It!"
Bemis noted multiple times how happy he was to be on the tour and how appreciative he was of the crowd. He even went as far as saying that it is his favorite tour of which he has ever been a part. And, judging by the hoarse voices and smiling faces of fans as they exited the venue, much of the audience was in agreement.
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