|The Say Anything “Rarities” Tour with Eisley, HRVRD, and Northern Faces|
The Door in Dallas, TX on June 6th, 2013
After seeing Max Bemis’ solo/acoustic rarities release show back in January, I couldn’t wait to see the same idea done full band – let alone on the first stop of the tour. Also, having seen Northern Faces and HRVRD perform at South By, I knew they were bands whose live show I couldn’t pass up seeing again. I had never seen Eisley live, so that was quite the treat in itself. Actually, I had never seen Say Anything full band either – somehow – so the show was quite the night altogether.
Northern Faces started off the night with their groovy bluesy rock. The gritty “Poor Moonlight” proved the perfect opener for the band, while a new song they played has me very interested in how the rest of their new material will shape up to be. This is a band that thrives on diversity. The band pretty much as 3 equally talented singers, and it gives each song a different feel, something that comes across even better in the live setting. I highly recommend catching these guys live if you’re a fan of everything from Foo Fighters to The Black Keys to The Dear Hunter.
Under My Skin
Up next were the always interesting HRVRD. Once again, the group was full of eccentric, theatrical talent. Frontman Jesse Clasen played both the piano and trumpet at various times throughout the set, such as during the crowd favorite “French Girls.” He would also loop piano parts in and out throughout some of the songs. As he wailed “Call for the blood of your leaders” during the guitar build up in “Cardboard Houses,” the intensity of HRVRD really comes through. This is a band that I never really understood until seeing them live. They need the visuals, the theatrics, the intensity – their live performance is what makes this band really shine.
We Never Shut Up About You
Parts & Labor
I had never seen the lovely Eisley live before, as they have taken off touring for the past year to have children. The live setting really lets the band experiment more with their layering and atmosphere, evident throughout the new ethereal “Currents” and more guitar-focused “Save My Soul.” All of the new cuts – from both Deep Space EP and Currents – use this live atmosphere to their advantage, as the DuPree siblings and cousin each add an extra layer to the mix. The harmonizing vocals and power of each singer really comes through in this way as well. Hearing Eisley live, you’d really have no idea they’d taken any time off the road, as they had no need to sharpen any skills.
Save My Soul
Laugh It Off
I Could Be There For You
Drink the Water
Say Anything played a pretty similar rarities setlist as when I saw Bemis in January, with some changes here and there. However, the full band ability made the classic – and newer – songs pack an even greater punch. From the opening “Colorblind” through the encore of “A Walk Through Hell,” Say Anything never lost an ounce of energy. In fact, “Colorblind” proved the perfect opener choice, as the whole crowd yelled out “And I move too slow and I think too fast” at full volume.
As expected the self-titled songs were as catchy as anything, with “Crush’d” and especially “Do Better” being some of the most fun jams of the night. On the latter, the whole audience’s handclaps and foot stomps on the wooden floor made the song sound all the more massive. “Cemetery” slowed things down before the classic “All My Friends are Enemies” added a nice blend of old school punk guitars into the mix. The song led wonderfully into the equally huge “Every Man Has A Molly,” which was one of the loudest songs of the night.
Even Anarchy, My Dear cuts such as “Peace Out” and “Of Steel,” although completely unexpected, were great surprises thrown into the mix that sounded even better in the raw live setting. The night was full of little special “rarities,” such as the fact that the band played “The Presidential Suite” for the first time live as a full band and In Defense Of The Genre’s “Died A Jew” live for the fist time ever.
Still, aside from the final “A Walk Through Hell,” the absolute highlight of the night was “Alive With The Glory Of Love.” While this would normally be a huge highlight anyway, the venue setting made it even greater. See, the majority of the front rows of the crowd ended up on the stage throughout the song, with concert-goers stage diving like never before throughout the song, hugging Bemis, and belting along with him on stage. It was an experience like nothing I’ve ever seen at a live show. Incredible. Also, moments like this further convey how friendly Bemis is as a frontman, fully willing to put his arm around random fans while letting them yell along with him on stage and stage dive.
Baseball, But Better
Try to Remember, Forget
All My Friends
Every Man Has A Molly
Died A Jew
The Presidential Suite
Showdown at P-Town
Alive With the Glory of Love
I Want To Know Your Plans
A Walk Through Hell
Whether you’re a fan of rare, old Say Anything cuts or just dig tracks from the self-titled and Anarchy records, this is the show for you. Having a little bit of everything – and more surprises – this has to be one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. Northern Faces bring the gritty bluesy rock, HRVRD the theatrics, Eisley the intricate atmosphere, and Say Anything top it all off with their raw, punk-inspired nature. Clearly, Equal Vision Records continues to have one of the best lineups of any label today.