Even when I couldn't be less interested in the bands opening for Saves the Day, chances are, I'm going to see Saves the Day.
What I heard of Pistolita didn't strike me particularly strong. Some singing. Some keyboards. Some nü-emo stylings. Possibly some screams.
I feel like I repeat myself ad nauseam when describing Envy on the Coast, but I'm almost convinced they command the hype they do due to the sheer radio-friendliness of their songs. When you water down Glassjaw (and straight "borrow" Darly Palumbo's unique vocals) and cross it with Incubus-styled modern rock, you're probably going to find some success, even when your songs are often hovering around the 5-minute mark. But my personal criticisms are rather moot as they apparently draw one of the biggest crowds of up and coming Long Island acts and manage to land tours with the likes of Angels and Airwaves and Saosin. So good for them. Or their well-networked management. Whomever. At least my friend's wisecracks to me made for a pretty amusing time ("This one goes out to the delay pedal. We love you!"). For those actually interested, it probably wouldn't surprise you to know they played "Temper Temper," a new song, and "Suckerpunch" amongst others.
Musically, Saves the Day likely delivered one of the most competent performances in quite some time. I had some very slight issues with the set list, but we'll get to that later. The weirdness of Chris Conley's newest inflection seems to have settled in well, for either him, the listener, or both, and works with just about any song the band picks out of their growing catalogue. He talked a little more with the audience than usual, and looked to be having a good time on the more energetic numbers, showing it by moving around the stage more often than usual. The veteran Pete Parada was flawless with every drum fill and looked spirited when the tempos would pick up, David Soloway on right stage guitarist let his backup vocals mesh perfectly with Conley's, and, of course, Manny Carrero on bass looked like a professor with his slightly aged stature and wiry glasses, but having a pleasant time and expertly picking every note he's obviously memorized well.
As for the list, I expected to only hear maybe 1 or 2 off my 2nd favorite album of theirs, 1998's Can't Slow Down, so I was fine with hearing "Deciding" -- excited, even -- as they briefly mentioned playing it at their first Long Island show with Kid Dynamite (what a show that would have been to see). But as this is one of the first headlining tours in support of the recently released Sound the Alarm, you'd think they would depend at least somewhat heavily on it, that being something I'd have no problem with as it's a great effort. But only 4 were played, as you can see below, leaving out the splendorous staple of "The End," or other standouts like "Bones" or "Don't Know Why." It was great to hear the desperate, psychologically damned "Say You'll Never Leave" in the opening 1-2-3 punch, but it would've been nice to get some others, like the abovementioned. Interestingly enough, "At Your Funeral" was completely left out, which was okay with me -- a great song, but definitely one I've seen them play every single show attended by myself. They also introduced 2 of the In Reverie cuts claiming we'd been clamoring for them on the Internets. Sure. Other than the debut, the list was very evenly divided amongst the other four full-lengths and made for a healthily filled out 19-song set list overall.
So despite that and some moments of awfully tone deaf singing along all up in my ear, Saves the Day continue providing (most of) the hits and relatively deep cuts ("Third Engine," awesome), all on a tour in which they're playing some considerably intimate venues, which is always a treat.
Set list (in order & accurate):
- Jessie and My Whetstone [electric]
- Say You'll Never Leave
- Holly Hox Forget Me Nots
- Driving in the Dark
- All I'm Losing Is Me
- Head for the Hills
- Shoulder to the Wheel
- Where Are You?
- Never in My Waking Life
- Third Engine
- Cars and Calories
- In Reverie
- As Your Ghost Takes Flight Encore:
- Rocks Tonic Juice Magic
- Can't Slow Down: 1
- Through Being Cool: 4
- I'm Sorry I'm Leaving: 1
- Stay What You Are: 5
- In Reverie: 4
- Sound the Alarm: 4