LIVE REVIEW: Say Anything “Psyche Out!”

When we first listen to a band or artist, we never know the effect that their music will have on us. They can produce the most alleviating music that simply ‘hits different’. And when that same band breaks up, or goes on some sort of hiatus, it can feel like a part of our soul has been torn out of us. Okay, maybe that was a bit of an exaggeration, but it can certainly impact us, to some degree, emotionally.

Say Anything was most certainly one of those bands for me. I remember the first time I heard one of their hit songs, “Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too”. I was fleeing down a MySpace black hole of sorts and came across an individual who set it as their profile song. I was immediately hooked to the fun synths and Max Bemis’ scratchy voice singing the most inappropriate lyrics I could have imagined (keep in mind, I was maybe 14 years old at the time). That same year, I found out that they were playing a concert at a local venue and I absolutely HAD to go. When I realized that the show was on the same day as my mom’s birthday, I somehow convinced her to spend her special day with me seeing one of my favorite bands. We even convinced one of the security guards to get us into the meet and greet beforehand!

Fast forward about 15 years and a pandemic, a “hiatus”, and solo/side projects later… THEY’RE BACK! Say Anything announced four ‘residency’-type shows at The Bowery Ballroom in New York City and three at The Regent Theatrein Los Angeles. How could I not go? And how could I possibly not get the VIP meet & greet add-on? So I hopped on the train from Baltimore, MD to New York City, NY!

Honestly, it felt like an out-of-body experience, to say the least. I couldn’t believe that I was, once again, seeing a band that brought so many of my friends and I together.

There were many highlights of this show. But for me personally, it was getting the opportunity to tell Max Bemis himself how much the song “The Church Channel”, from their album In Defense of the Genre, meant to me. It has been my favorite song of theirs for as long as I can remember, and I had never gotten the chance to hear it played live. Not only did he confirm that they were playing it as part of their set, but while introducing the song during their show, he pointed me out and said that he “promised someone before the show that they would play it”. Cue the ugly crying here. It was certainly a night to remember.

Say Anything recently released a new song, “Psyche!”, which unfortunately was not performed on the night that I attended. However, with these shows in New York and LA along with being booked for both days of When We Were Young in Las Vegas later this year, could this be the start of a major comeback? Here’s to hoping that we find out sooner rather than later…

By: David John Croft / Photos by: David John Croft

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