Say Anything played a sold out Mr. Small's last night and they've still got it, at least for now.
Since its last appearance here in April 2012 with Kevin Devine and the Goddamn Band, Fake Problems and The Front Bottoms, things have changed a bit for the band. Frontman Max Bemis got married and had a kid, original drummer Coby Linder left the band and a number of lineup changes went down. On this tour, Fred Mascherino (Taking Back Sunday), Kenny Bridges (Moneen) and Greg Dunn (Moving Mountains) all filled in on guitar.
This is not your father's Say Anything. While their set last night was good, it was not up to par with their 2012 appearance.
Per usual, their hour-and-twenty-minute set was The Max Bemis show. With his recent dadhood and at the ripe old age of 30, Bemis looks a bit "fuller" now and a little worn down — but he can still deliver on stage. Aesthetics aside, his stage presence and energy is still there, jumping around on stage and pandering to fans on the barrier. Spending a good portion of Say Anything's set at front stage, Bemis stayed engaged with fans, holding the mic out to let them sing and touching extended fan's hands looking.
But some very special guests took some of the spotlight away from Father Bemis. Wife Sherri DuPree-Bemis (Eisley) surprised the crowd coming out to sing her part in "Cemetery" from 2009's self titled album, bringing her little bundle of joy. That's right: Max and Sherri's one and a half year old daughter, Lucy, made an appearance on stage. Carried by her mother, Lucy sported noise-canceling headphones to protect her young ears from the volume of her father's band.
While the Bemis clan were the main players of Say Anything's set, Brian Sella of The Front Bottoms sang his part on the title track from SA's new album, Hebrews. After the song, Bemis sang the praises of the band, saying it was a privilege to tour with them and "Now one deserves the laud as much as The Front Bottoms do." The Front Bottoms have grown from the opening band on Say Anything's tour to the first supporting band and continue to gain popularity.
The Front Bottoms blew away the crowd, with a surprisingly energetic and intense set. Usually a two-piece band comprised of drums and acoustic guitar, Sella (guitar) and drummer Mathew Uychich add two members to their live show and incorporates bass, trumpet keyboard and a second guitar to their set. The result is a heaving-hitting set, backdropped with giant inflatable letters "TFB" and three or four wacky waving-arm-men props. The Pittsburgh crowd seemed almost as excited to see TFB as they were to see the headliner.
1.Six Six Six
3. Burn A Miracle
4.Baby Girl, I'm a Blur
5. Judas Decapitation
6. The Writhing South
7. Do Better
8. Surgically Removing the Tracking Device
9. A Boston Peace
10. Cemetery (Sherri Dupree-Bemis)
11. Hebrews (Brian Sella of The Front Bottoms)
12. This Is Fucking Ecstasy
14. She Won't Follow You
15. Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too
16. Got Your Money (Ol’ Dirty Bastard cover) (Max solo acoustic)
17. I Want to Know Your Plans (Max solo acoustic)