My sophomore year of high school was a tough year. I was short, rather chubby, awkward, had braces, the whole nine. Pop punk music was the only thing that loved me, or at least in my eyes. Bands like Blink-182, Man Overboard, and A Day to Remember (ugh) got me through the facets of everyday life. I thought that music was the most gritty, angsty, relatable music ever written. That was until two bands came into my life when I was 16 that changed me forever. Those bands were Saves the Day and Say Anything; OG pop punk.
New Jersey emo band Saves the Day released their second album “Through Being Cool” in 1999. For anyone who is a fan of pop punk and emo, this album is a staple of their love for the genre. Ask any twenty-something fan, and they’ll tell you that Through Being Cool was played on their Sony Walkman CD player so much, that the disc got laser burn and couldn’t be played anymore. Every song on the album is so relatable to the life of a teenager. Through Being Cool turned 15 this year.
California’s own Say Anything’s most well known album “…is a Real Boy” is filled with songs about sex, hipsters, school, and everything else that high schoolers think about on a regular basis. This album, released in 2004, was the band’s second release, and their breakout album. …is a Real Boy is another staple of any pop punk or emo fan’s library, played loud and proud out of their third floor attic style bedrooms when they were teenagers.
Say Anything and Saves the Day are two bands that are very closely related. Playing shows together back in the day, covering each other’s songs, even having Say Anything frontman Max Bemis and Saves the Day frontman Chris Connelly starting a band together, Two Tongues. However, in more recent years, the activity between the bands has been rather stagnant.
In September of this year, the band’s announced that they will be touring together with support from Reggie and the Full Effect, playing their respective albums in their entirety. There would be two shows in Philly at the TLA, one show on November 26th, and one show on November 28th.
Needless to say, I lost my marbles, and got a ticket right away.
The nearly two month wait for the show was agonizing. I regularly listen to “…is a Real Boy” and “Through Being Cool” so I knew the order of songs, every word, just everything. Knowing all of the songs was not the problem. The problem was that I just had to mentally prepare myself for this night.
Finally, the night of the show came. Coming into the TLA and listening to Reggie and the Full Effect, a band started by James Dewees, former keyboardist of another favorite band of mine, The Get Up Kids, another pop punk band of that time, everyone was getting pumped up. Saves the Day was on next, and nobody could ready themselves. Dewees was wearing a turkey costume, and the band behind him were dressed as pilgrims. Music reminiscent of The Get Up Kids was enough nostalgia to get the crowd ready for what was to come.
After Reggie and the Full Effect finished their set, a banner rolled down the back of the stage. Through Being Cool’s album cover shows Saves the Day as teenagers, sitting on a couch at a party, with looks of boredom on their faces, as their peers have fun in the background. The banner showed the infamous couch and living room, except the party was over, nobody was there. Saves the Day took the stage, and the crowd went wild. Through Being Cool begins with “All Star Me,” a song that begins with the simple sound of a guitar cable being plugged in. This sound is more important than one would think, and hearing it brings people back to 1999 in a heart beat. After two minutes of ambient guitar feedback, The band made sure that infamous sound was made, and Through Being Cool began. Every single person in the crowd was singing along, moshing, crowd surfing, crying. Hearing my favorite songs, “You Vandal,” and “Third Engine,” I was part of hundreds of people losing their minds. Finishing the album with “Banned From the Back Porch” and another two minutes of ambient feedback, Saves the Day began their encore, playing hits like “At Your Funeral,” and “A Drag in D Flat.” I think that the feedback that came before and after the album was played was significant. It symbolized the beginning and the end of something great. The nearly hour-long set was over, and everyone knew that there was still more fun to come. Say Anything was on next.
A short ten minutes after Saves the Day, the lights dimmed, and the infamous recorded conversation between Max Bemis and his father began playing. Max, talking to his dad on the phone while driving to a recording session for the album speaks about his anxiety of recording “the spoken word introduction to the record,” which is a nine word sentence: “And the record begins with a song of rebellion.” The conversation finishes, and the band comes out, with Max saying: “and the show begins with a song of rebellion.” That “song of rebellion” is “Belt” a fast, punk tune that everyone went insane to. As the set progressed, playing songs such as “Alive With the Glory of Love,” “Woe,” and “Every Man Has a Molly,” the crowd was constantly jumping around, singing every song, and having a great time. The real surprise came after the band played “I Want to Know Your Plans,” an acoustic song that made me (and everyone else, trust me I was looking around), cry. Max said that they would continue the show, playing disc two of …is a Real Boy, a short set of songs called “…was a Real Boy.” Songs such as “Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too,” and “Metal Now” were played. However, everyone knew what was coming. The last song from …is a Real Boy, the most angsty song on the album, a song about Bemis’ hatred of hipsters, “Admit It!!!.” Lyrics such as “you are a faker (admit it!), you are a fraud (admit it!),” made the entire crowd scream their heads off, including me. Ending the song with a final breakdown that made the mosh pit a war zone, the greatest show of my life came to an end.
I can say wholeheartedly that this show will never be topped by any other show I have seen. I’ve seen my favorite bands multiple times, and this show just took the cake. The energy put forth by all of the bands, the songs played, everything. I want to give not only a thank you to the bands, but to the Philly punk scene. This scene is the best in the country, hands down. Everyone at the show was so cool, so in love with the music, and so respectful to the band, their crowdmates, and the venue. Say Anything and Saves the Day are always welcome in the City of Brotherly Love.
Review By: Tyler Carmody