Band Concert Review
Say Anything: SXSW 2006
Emo's - Austin, Texas - March 23, 2006
By Dan Locke
Say Anything is the pop-punk brainchild of singer/songwriter Max Bemis. The band first started up while its members were still in high school, with their drummer Coby playing drums over Max's songs, Max and Coby are the core members of the band with a rotating cast of characters throughout its existence, with the most recent lineup featuring Bemis (guitar/vocals), Coby Linder (drums), and Alex Kent (bass). With Max's egomaniacal singing, he would proceeded to kick out and\or drive away pretty much anyone else who joined the band, so there were a ton of lineup changes, yet somehow Coby and Max ended up selling a lot of our self released\recorded cd. Soon, all these strange children started to repeatedly attend their live shows and tell their friends until they had build a hugh fan base. The group first appeared with two self-released and self-produced EPs, Junior Varsity and Menora/Mejorah, the latter being released online, and a full-length album, Baseball. These releases saw the band leaning more toward the emo rock/pop-punk formula made popular by bands like blink-182 and Saves the Day.
This started to get the major record companies to take a look, (they were playing with bands like the Promise Ring). And the majors wanted them, but they don't agree with, want they were beeing offer, so they desided to go the indie route and sign to Doghouse Records. "Is a Real Boy." The album, a self-described punk rock musical, was produced by Tim O'Heir (Dinosaur Jr., the All-American Rejects) and Stephen Trask (Hedwig and the Angry Inch). Both during and after the album's recording, Bemis, who suffers from bipolar disorder, struggled with stress that eventually caused Say Anything to drop off two tours in 2005, including an opening slot with their idols, Saves the Day.
Despite the setback, the guys signed with J Records that same year, and reissued their album in February 2006. The re-release boasted two discs -- the original record along with an EP, Say Anything vs. AIDS. The EP contained songs from the recording sessions of a never-released AIDS benefit record alongside original demos and re-recordings of previous songs.
The day I saw them play at SXSW was the last day of SXSW (major last day-Saturday) and they were playing a day party at Emos for the Alternative Press Party. The place was packed. And instead of playing their unsual rocking set, they played a acoustic set. And all you hear was the whole crowd singing with the band. I could see that this band had got the world by its balls and they have taken control of it. They had good stage present. And they keep in touch to what the crowd wanted. I can see this band going on to the next level...