New Found Glory / Saves the Day - live in New York (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

New Found Glory / Saves the Day

live in New York (2010)

live show

The dark, wet and slick streets of lower Manhattan were not making it very clear to me and my poor vision that seemingly every inch of unattended curb was painted yellow. But after a fair amount of time spent looking for a free spot that Thursday night, a beautiful open space presented itself to my sister and I and we were parked quite closer to Irving Plaza than we could have predicted.

Fireworks were just finishing their set up when we hastily came in, playing "When We Stand on Each Other We Block Out the Sun" to a surprisingly high number of excited kids. There had to be a couple dozen of 'em either climbing on each other, singing along smiling or practicing karate like Poison the Well was playing Opposite of December tracks. It turns out the band ended up closing with that and another song I probably enjoy most (save "Geography, Vonnegut and Me") from their most recent full-length, last year's All I Have to Offer Is My Own Confusion, that being the pleasingly cheesy "Detroit." They sounded quite alright for that short duration, and I think they ended up playing 25 minutes overall.

And then came Hellogoodbye. After this band's ridiculous debut on Drive-Thru (that self-titled EP) way back in 2004--which I'm still frustrated ended up trumping Jenoah's simultaneously released and far better EP in terms of notoriety and making a strong establishment--I sort of just learned to ignore them. Even when the band kinda broke with "Here in Your Arms"--from 2006's Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!--I could actually sort of enjoy, probably in some at least half-assed ironic way, the tongue-in-cheek dance-pop nods and winking-so-hard-you're-crushing-corneas of the single. So many truer musical abominations had sprung up in that time that I guess I didn't feel too strongly about them one way or another, really. Then the band released this incredibly awesome and dead-on cover of the Promise Ring's "A Picture Postcard" a month ago and my interest was vaguely piqued.

Thus, I was prepared to really not mind their set here. And lo and behold, they were really actually kinda decent. Singer/guitarist Forrest Kline's voice was practically inaudible until the second song (and his sometimes timid approach didn't really help throughout the set), but those technical difficulties subsided quickly and the band sounded a little more together. I did my best to grab onto the ultra-geeky, synth-laden power-pop moments littered into so many of the songs, but one I particularly enjoyed as a whole was a new jam. I shouted for that Promise Ring cover a few times to no avail, but I was thankfully able to relate to the band's humorous banter, which included references to the mind-boggling number of penises witnessed on Chatroulette and Forrest's promise to "walk on your back!" if one were to ink the unsigned band to a record label (one would have to guess Kline, whose band used to be on Drive-Thru, has been there, done that).

Set list (8:14-8:49):

  1. ?
  2. Shimmy Shimmy Quarter Turn (Take It Back to Square One)
  3. When We First Met [new]
  4. Baby, It's Fact
  5. Dear Jamie...Sincerely Me
  6. new song
  7. Oh, It Is Love
  8. Here in Your Arms

I hadn't seen Saves the Day in about two-and-a-half years, and even that was acoustic. Hands down, I can't deny they're one of my all-time favorite bands, so this was a pretty long time to go without seeing a set of their well-done and varied forms of...pop-punk? Whatever they can be called these days, I guess. The wait was completely worth it, as the set was total bliss. I was hoping the band would celebrate the spirit of the tour at least a bit (with New Found Glory playing their 10-year-old self-titled album front-to-back), but it still shocked me that they gave my favorite album of theirs the most love (four songs!) and overall did a really, really energetic set. I mean, "All-Star Me" into "The End"? "Sell My Old Clothes, I'm Off to Heaven" into "Rocks Tonic Juice Magic" into "At Your Funeral" into "Shoulder to the Wheel"?!?!?! Fuck! It couldn't have been better if they played something off Can't Slow Down...okay, maybe a little.

Chris Conley barely said a word to the crowd and I couldn't be happier about it; the band used their time wisely, squeezing 15 songs into a 46-minute set without a hitch and very few pauses among them. They also nailed every song wonderfully with their new lineup; the dudes don't quite have stage presence down yet, but you probably don't need to do much when you're playing songs that kids--well, young adults...okay, grown-ass men acting like children--will go apeshit for anyway (read: really bizarre pit action). The clean-faced Conley, whose voice isn't as oddly wavering these days as it was when it shocked fans with 2006's Sound the Alarm, even wore a striped-blue polo; save post-Stay What You Are songs, it could've been 2001. Everyone just seemed completely stoked, but especially for the songs from TBC/SWYA. Granted, the band ended on a totally weird song for a closer, but for the set that preceded it it was totally forgiveable.

Set list (9:09-9:55):
  1. All-Star Me
  2. The End
  3. Radio
  4. Anywhere with You
  5. Firefly
  6. Holly Hox, Forget Me Nots
  7. Can't Stay the Same
  8. Eulogy
  9. Freakish
  10. Driving in the Dark
  11. Sell My Old Clothes, I'm Off to Heaven
  12. Rocks Tonic Juice Magic
  13. At Your Funeral
  14. Shoulder to the Wheel [f/ Jordan Pundik]
  15. Kaleidoscope

It was so much fun, but now I'd get to see an old fling play my favorite album of theirs in its entirety. After having a splendid time watching another favorite play their wildly popular sophomore LP a while back, I figured this would be a good time, too, and it was. The band came out to Miley Cyrus' "Party in the U.S.A." with only a hint of irony really coating it, and then busted into the fast pop-punk beat of "Better Off Dead," and it had begun. With Jordan Pundik's slightly less nasally voice it was like a moderately improved version of an already pretty awesome pop-punk album, with the band playing songs in small batches and ever-vocal guitarist Chad Gilbert giving a little background here and there. Okay, so there were a few sloppy parts and missed cues here and there, but it was an otherwise pretty solid performance. It's still hard to believe I first heard this album when I was 14. Towards the end of the regular set, my friend Jay turned to me and exclaimed with a $12 (!!!) tallcan of Budweiser in his hand, "I feel like a kid again!" He almost nailed it, as I pointed to his drink and amended his observation: "Yeah, except we can drink."

The band came out for an expected encore, but it was cool they did eight songs to flesh out the set to a solid 20. It was cooler that they added the Lifetime-flavored "Truck Stop Blues," as well as the fist-pump-trap "Don't Let Her Pull You Down," another sure highlight from their revival LP, last year's Not Without a Fight. Plus, they did the excellent "Intro," the cover of GB's "No Reason Why" for the NYC crowd, and zip from the record that shall never be spoken of.

Set list (10:27-11:08):
  1. Better Off Dead
  2. Dressed to Kill
  3. Sincerely Me
  4. Hit or Miss
  5. Second to Last
  6. Eyesore
  7. Vegas
  8. Sucker
  9. Black and Blue
  10. Boy Crazy
  11. All About Her
  12. Ballad for the Lost Romantics
    Encore (11:09-11:33):
  13. Understatement
  14. All Downhill from Here
  15. Head on Collision
  16. Don't Let Her Pull You Down
  17. Truck Stop Blues
  18. No Reason Why [Gorilla Biscuits cover]
  19. Intro
  20. My Friends Over You

If this style of pop-punk got you through high school but you're kinda jaded about how some bands overblow it these days, this tour is your nostalgia trip (or maybe just another show for you). Either way, don't blow it.