Saves the Day - live in Boston (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Saves the Day

live in Boston (2018)

live show

When this tour was announced, I was pleasantly surprised to see An Horse’s name on the bill. I haven’t heard their name in years; the last time I saw them live probably would have been when they toured with the Appleseed Cast in 2009. Sure enough, as I see it now they haven’t released something substantial since 2011, with a new single dropping this past May. The duo came onstage with incense burning and got right into things with “Horizons”. They played a good mix of songs from their debut EP and two full-lengths. Vocalist/guitarist Kate Cooper probably made some new fans and the crowd chuckle admitting of “poppin’ tits” with her wrongful bra choice. They sounded pretty tight, always sounding rather full and energetic for playing as a two-piece, though they even brought out next act Kevin Devine to play bass and harmonize for their last song, a new one (which may or may not have been the aforementioned single, “Get Out Somehow”).

Set list (7:30-7:58):

1. Horizons

2. Brain on a Table

3. Airport Death

4. Camp Out


5. Postcards

6. Scared as Fuck

7. Dressed Sharply


8. new song [f/ Kevin Devine on bass]

Kevin Devine was next, playing solo. He was a nice support act for this tour, something a little different while making perfect sense musically and geographically (he’s a Brooklyn native, adjacent to Saves the Day’s home state of New Jersey; I think he may have mentioned playing shows together back in the day in some capacity as well). They do also share a producer in Rob Schnapf, who did StD’s Stay What You Are and Devine’s Put Your Ghost to Rest. I’m always amazed by the passion Devine gives in every performance, and this one was really no different. “Carnival” in particular seemed rather impassioned, as well as set closer “Brother’s Blood”, with Devine going off-mic for the howling bridge. He definitely had a good handful of fans in attendance singing along to most of the set, which was good to see. An Horse also returned the favor of collaboration, with their drummer Damon Cox coming out to help out on the raucous “She Can See Me” and the wonderful “Cotton Crush”, which really had the some of the crowd yelling along. It was a solid set that set the room up well for Saves the Day.

Set list (8:10-8:52):

1. Ballgame

2. Instigator

3. Carnival


4. Nobel Prize


5. Just Stay


6. She Can See Me [f/ An Horse drummer Damon Cox]


7. Cotton Crush [also w/ Cox]


8. Yr Damned Ol’ Dad


9. Brother’s Blood

Saves the Day came out to Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s “The Message”, with Chris Conley in a jacket and cheap sunglasses that he would leave on for the entirety of the set. He’s definitely seemed like a weird guy for a while now, but he’s still got his signature voice intact. Speaking of weird, Conley referred to “Rosé” as a hardcore song, which is a pretty strange characterization given that it’s more or less a lightly punky power-pop song.

It was a pretty efficient and solid set, though, as the band didn’t take too many extended breaks and breezed through a bunch of songs spanning all their full-lengths, including their newest, the autobiographical 9. They actually played as a six-piece, with three guitarists and Conley untethered by an instrument, with most of the fairly solid lineup they’ve now had for a surprisingly long time (guitarist/vocalist Arun Bali and bassist Rodrigo Palma since 2009, drummer Dennis Wilson since 2013). They sounded very seasoned and very good, as was expected.

Naturally, songs from their first three or four I’d say got the biggest response, with some cramming up front for sing-alongs much of the time. (When they played the new riff-rock number “Side by Side”, one drunk woman pushed her way up front simply to give Conley a disapproving thumbs-down for much of the song.) I think the better mid-career Sound the Alarm songs like “The End” and “Say You’ll Never Leave” went a little underappreciated, and were definite highlights here for their more aggressive vibes (of course, people crowd-climbed and dumb bros push-moshed for calmer material).

Set list (9:20-10:30):

1. At Your Funeral

2. Xenophobic Blind Left Hook

3. Suzuki


4. Eulogy

5. Get Fucked Up


6. Kerouac & Cassady


7. Shoulder to the Wheel

8. Cars & Calories

9. The End

10. Anywhere with You

11. 1984


12. Rosé

13. Say You’ll Never Leave

14. Kaleidoscope

15. Z

16. Holly Hox, Forget Me Nots


17. Freakish

18. Let It All Go


19. What Went Wrong

20. It’s Such a Beautiful World

21. Firefly

Encore (10:32-10:44):

22. Three Miles Down [Chris Conley a cappella]

23. Ring Pop

24. Side by Side

25. Rocks Tonic Juice Magic