During the first song of the encore, “I Want to Know Your Plans”, Max Bemis stood alone on stage with his acoustic guitar, singing the line “You’re what keeps me believing the world is not dead” In his often casual, spoken word style of lyricizing, Max paused and asked the crowd, “How the hell do you guys know this shit?”

Say Anything

Say Anything

And such was the theme Saturday night, as Say Anything took the stage of the TLA in support of their Rarities and More Tour. Northern Faces started off the night right with their unique blend of indie rock infused with touches of blues. Lead singer and guitarist Brian Shortell explained how the band spent a week locked away in a cabin in Vermont writing their debut EP.  Philadelphia was the last stop on their tour with Say Anything, and they closed out their set on a somber, yet reflective note, with the song “Finding Hope.”

Northern Faces Gallery

Browse or click to view full size

 

HRVRD took the stage next, with a performance that was eccentric to say the least.  Vocalist Jesse Clasen stalked about the stage in an almost trance like state, with his ghostly voice belting out the lyrics “Would you walk all over my heart?” during the song “Parts & Labor.” Clasen’s haunting and commanding stage presence went hand in hand with the aggressive and melodic guitar riffs, mixed perfectly with Tim Cossors’ relentlessness on the drums. At one point during the set, Clasen jumped down from the stage, mic in hand, and ran towards the center of the crowd, where he finished the song, nearly giving the security staff a heart attack.

HRVRD Gallery

Browse or click to view full size

Up next were female indie rock outfit Eisley. Lead singer and rhythm guitarist Sherri DuPree-Bemis took the stage apologetically, as she explained how excited she was that the Philly show was the first sold out stop on the tour, but she was currently “tour sick” and was beginning to lose her voice. Don’t worry Sherri, it didn’t show. Sherri was joined onstage alongside her sisters Stacy and Chauntelle, as well as their brother Weston, and cousin Garon, performing several tracks off their newest album Currents.  The harmonizing between Stacy and Sherri, mixed with Stacy’s offbeat keys, and Chauntelle’s evocative and melodic guitar riffs, made the title track off the new album an incredible ride for the audience to take, and a great way to start off a set that was equally audacious and inspired.

Eisley Gallery

Browse or click to view full size

After a terrific lineup of opening acts, it was finally time for Say Anything to take the stage, and in true Say Anything style, they did so with force. Bemis started things off with “Colorblind”, a song off their classic 2001 album Baseball. The band proceeded to dive into a catalogue of songs that some might consider rare or forgotten gems (hence the name of the tour), but that live on through Bemis’ and the fans enthusiasm and love for rarities. The crowd cheered and danced wildly for old hits including “Try to Remember, Forget” and “Every Man Has a Molly”, as well as some of the newer songs including “Do Better” and “Peace Out”. Easily the sweetest and most memorable part of the night was the moment Bemis was joined onstage by his wife (Sherri from Eisley) during the song “Cemetery”, in which they stood side by side singing the lines “You’re in my body, and that’s where I think about you.” Bemis’ stage presence is oftentimes a force to be reckoned with, as he approaches his songs from an almost schizophrenic point of view, going from screaming to almost a whisper at the drop of a hat. It was nice to see him joined by his wife, who undoubtedly has had an influence on his lyrics over the past few albums. In keeping with the theme of the tour, the band closed out the show with an incredible rendition of “Walk Through Hell”, the hit track off of their 2002 album Menorah/Majora. The crowd was in boisterous celebration as they sang along “I’d walk through hell for you!” with Bemis. The perfect ending to a fantastic, and unforgettable show.

Say Anything Gallery

Browse or click to view full size