May 23, 2024

Say Anything Shouts Out Punk Rock Choruses, Waxes Emo Nostalgia for First of Two-Night Metro Run

Say Anything, Metro, Chicago, IL. December 11, 2017. Photo by Samantha Reyes

Radar State

Having never heard of or listened to Radar State before this show, there were a few things I learned during their set.

1. This is a band comprised of four dudes who’ve been in a slew of other bands I already knew.

2. These guys brought hilarious stage banter.

3.  One of these familiar-looking guys had already played the Metro at least 25 times in his storied career.

All of this makes so much more sense when you consider the band is made up of Matt Pryor and Jim Suptic co-frontmen of The Get Up KidsJosh Berwanger frontman from The Anniversary, and drummer Adam Phillips of The Architects (US) and The Gadjits.

Say Anything

Nostalgia was king at the first of two nights of Say Anything’s Metro run.  For the first night, they covered 2007’s In Defense of the Genre (disc 1) and 2005’s Is A Real Boy from start to finish.  It was a night full of teenage-era emo angst, shout-out-loud choruses, and emphatic punk rock fist pumps.  As my first time seeing this band again in nearly a decade, it wasn’t a surprise that singer Max Bemis was still at the helm and still energetically enunciated every word as he ran around onstage.  To continue with a night of familiar faces, I immediately recognized keyboardist and guitarist Parker Case from long-gone emo duo JamisonParker.   While I was mesmerized by Garron Dupree‘s hair whipping, it wasn’t until after the show that I realized that he was also from the band Eisley.

Seeing this band play one of its first ever headlining shows at the now-defunct Knitting Factory L.A., it is refreshing to see that with all the personnel changes, they still maintain the same raw energy they started with. Bemis traversed the stage, hocking up the occasional loogie when he wasn’t occupied singing his heart out.  He made a point to get the audience involved in singing along to the more shout-worthy portions of their songs.  The band took a short break after the first full disc, then came right back in with even more energy for their debut album Is A Real Boy, sending fans rushing back towards the stage to catch fan favorite “Belt.”  Running pretty much back to back for nearly the entire second half of the set, it was impressive that they didn’t take a longer break between halves.  Towards the end of the set, guitarist Kenny Bridges–also from the band Moneen–disappeared, only to resurface as a crowd surfer.  On trend with many of recent shows I’ve attended, they ended their set without an encore.  It was an awesome first night of their run at the Metro and I only wish I could have come in for the second night.