There really wasn’t a better way to end the year of the pop-punk revival than to take in Reggie and the Full Effect, Saves the Day, and Say Anything at the Summit Music Hall this past Friday. After a year full of nostalgia album tours, Saves the Day and Say Anything both decided to get/cash-in on the trend before it’s too late. While both of these bands could have toured on their own to mostly full mid-size venues, the bill had Summit filled to capacity.
REGGIE AND THE FULL EFFECT
Near the end of my freshman year of college, after interviewing numerous small touring indie rock bands for my college radio station, I finally got an interview with a bigger name. It also just happened to be one of my favorite musicians at the time, James Dewees aka: Reggie, aka: Paco, aka: Klaüs from Common Denominator, aka: Fluxuation. I went backstage at the Gothic Theater before Reggie and the Full Effect opened for frosted tipped pop-punkers New Found Glory. After running through my list of questions about alter egos and ex-wives, I asked Dewees, full of 19 year old hubris, if I could sing Common Denominator’s “Dwarf Invasion” with him. He said absolutely. I was thrilled. I wanted to get a picture with him after the interview was over, but I was so nervous beforehand that I left the camera in the car. I went out to retrieve it and when I got to the car I realized I was so nervous that I not only left the camera, I had locked the keys in the car as well. I called my friend to bring the spare set, but it would take him an hour. I walked back to the green room defeated and told James Dewees that I locked the keys in the car with the camera. He said, “Shit, dude. You wanna hang out then?” For the next hour I drank PBRs in the greenroom with him and New Found Glory. We finally took the picture, which got deleted, and at the end of his set he gave me the mic to sing “Dwarf Invasion.” As Reggie opened the show on Friday, that night felt like a week ago.
It wouldn’t be a Reggie and the Full Effect show without costumes and this show was no different as Dewees came out in a full Santa costume accompanied by a backing band of Elves; shredding, rocking Elves. The Full Effect played the loudest rendition of “Under The Tray” I’ve ever heard. During the set Dewees acted more as warm-up comic emcee than rock star, telling funny stories and making fun of his weight gain. When they got to “F.O.O.D.” he said, “When I wrote this song I was 135 lbs. Ten years later, I weigh 235 lbs. Hey, that’s not bad! Have you seen the rest of the Get Up Kids lately?” Dewees fully embraced his middle-age weight when he closed with Fluxuation’s “Mood 4 Luv” dawning a 3-sizes too tight elastic sexy cop outfit, gut bulging out. He may be older and heavier, but his enthusiasm hasn’t waned a bit. Oh, and I finally got another picture.
SAVES THE DAY
By the time the THROUGH BEING COOL backdrop went up, the album artwork with the band and party members removed showing an empty futon, the Summit became uncomfortably crowded with a surprising amount of bros. I don’t remember a ton of Chads at emo shows when I was a teenager. Had Dave Matthews stopped touring? Some even took it upon themselves to regulate the crowd and not let people pass by them. There was absolutely no point to this behavior because as soon as Saves the Day went into “All-Star Me” everyone on the floor began pushing and moshing with angstful abandon. Saves the Day plowed through the album barely stopping for a breath, no matter how badly the 30-something manboys in the crowd needed one.
Saves the Day wrapped up THROUGH BEING COOL in a little over 30 minutes, but since this was a co-headlining tour of sorts they had another half hour to play. The speed and efficiency of their set allowed for them to play essentially a greatest hits second set. First song, “At Your Funeral.” The crowd went nuts like they were waiting the whole show to hear a song not on the album they were going to see. It’s debatable that STAY WHAT YOU ARE may have been a better choice for a nostalgia tour. Saves the Day lacks the kind of definitively classic album like so many of their peers that have gone on nostalgia tours. Two generations of fans seem to be separated by which album they prefer. That night it was the best of both worlds, as they played “Freakish” while hitting other favorites like “Jessie and My Whetstone” and “Anywhere With You.” Near the end they played a newer song that drifted into a “Hotel California” jam session and you could feel the audience fatigue setting in. As Saves the Day left the stage the crowd would have loved a futon to sit on.
Between Saves the Day and Say Anything there was a mini exodus in the audience. A number of people came to see Saves the Day exclusively and barely knew Say Anything. As someone who has been a fan of both, this was the first time it dawned on me that maybe Saves the Day should have been the ones to the close out the night. The passion of those that remained more than made up for the slight dip when frontman Max Bemis took the stage and said, “This is a song of rebellion.” The sweaty, aggressive pit sang along with every word of every song like an agro Dashboard Confessional show. Bemis barely sang the first few songs, instead pointing the mic toward the crowd that was overpowering his vocals. This left little doubt to who should’ve closed out the night. Saves the Day would’ve had a tough time following this.
Since the release of …IS A REAL BOY, Max Bemis has released increasingly underwhelming records. It’s confusing how someone can make an album that is full of perfect power-pop singles then abandon that in favor of genre experimentation, but considering his mental health history, consistency shouldn’t be expected. With the band clicking the way it was though, it felt like a return to form. The crowd weren’t the only ones that looked like they had been waiting years to get back to basics. Near the end, Bemis sent everyone off stage and played mixtape classic “A Walk Through Hell” as well as “I Wanna Know Your Friends” before closing with the explosive “Admit it,” which had one of the guitar players go full Eddie Veder and climb up into the balcony to close the show. The house lights went up, but no one left. Eventually the band returned without Bemis and said he was still on the bus. Eventually he returned in an oversized Saves the Day sweatshirt. For once, it was a true encore but it felt unnecassary. They had no plan on what to play so the audience began yelling requests until Bemis played a solo rendition of “Baby Girl, I’m a Blur” leaving those hoping to hear “Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too” disappointed. It was a bit of an anticlimactic end, but ultimately after spending the night in a time capsule it’s hard to complain. All three acts were at the top of their form and played their old songs like they just came out. It’s hard to capture lightning in a bottle, but it’s even harder to recapture it without opening the bottle. The light was still burning within all three bands on Friday and as James Dewees said, “I hope to see you all in another 10 years.”