>Saves the Day with the Get Up Kids at Headliners, Toledo, Ohio; Saturday June 4, 2011

>It’s been about four years since I last saw my favourite band Saves the Day play and add a couple of years onto that for the Get Up Kids. I have to say, it was pretty lovely being reunited with some cherished old friends.

Even better, I got to enjoy old company with new company too. I went to this show with my very lovely Michigan native pal. The trip to Toledo from Ann Arbor, MI was only about an hour, completely worth the trek. My new friend actually knew two of the members of Saves the Day scoring us some backstage wristbands. So beyond just seeing one of my favourite bands, I could see them way close, closer than I ever did lining up hours before the show in the rain.

Headliners is an extremely small venue. Packed to the brim, it is somewhere between the Kool Haus and the Sound Academy. However because of the way it is set up, the actual concert viewing area is about half the size of the Kool Haus. I couldn’t imagine it ever reaching full-capacity.

The two bands played pretty early sets with no openers. Saves the Day hopped on stage at nine, stumbling in just past the hour, I knew we were missing something. The punk bass drum sounds, I knew we were missing Saves the Day. Apparently, we only missed “Shoulder to the Wheel” of the classic tunes I’d have like to have heard. Pity.

Look how young they are here!!!!

I was very blown away by the group, song selection and sound, for the first time in a while, Saves the Day really looked as if they were really, truly having fun on stage. Lead singer Chris Conley, sounded better than ever – his vocals were top shelf. I was really surprised by the band – a total off-beat group of guys that look like they’d do more harm to the band than good. I’m basing this impression mostly on the fact that they resemble nothing of their old set up. I was really fortunate to have seen Dave Soloway and Eben D’Aimco play the first go around in Toronto back in 2003 (first go around for me). I don’t think any band arrangement will live up to that, but this one really nears close. They’re just a really tight band and although Saves has become the Chris Conley show, I think these boys stand a chance in hell.

Members

Chris Conley
Arun Bali
Rodrigo Palma
Claudio Rivera

Past members
Spencer Peterson
Chris Zampella
Eben D’Amico
Ted Alexander
Dave Soloway
Manuel Carrero
Durijah Lang
Bryan Newman
Reed Black[3]
Anthony Anastasio
Sean McGrath
Justin Gaylord
Pete Parada

Their song choices were spread beautifully across the seven albums the band has released in the last twelve years. Conley even made a comment about how people should approach him if a song was missed, he’d make a note to play it again the next time they rolled through. He went on to say it gets hard when you have over one hundred songs to chose from. When he said that, I started to think about how new band members would go about learning old tunes, new to them.

I was most happy to hear “Nightingale” off of their heavy hitter Stay What You Are. It’s sort of an odd choice selection because it’s slow and a bit romantic, people nonetheless still seemed to dig it. It always baffles me to look around at an audience and see people cling on to the words of a tune that are so close to you. Some lazy guy in flop-flops standing next to me at the show shocked me the most. He closed his eyes real tight when he sung the chorus of “Nightingale,” it’s not my song after all.

Didn’t want to spoil it with a poorly recorded live version. Claudio, the drummer played the beginning bit with the hi-hat and I knew it would be “Nightingale”:

They also slapped together “This is Not an Exit,” “Freakish,” “Cars and Calories,” “See You,” “Certain Tragedy,” and closed with “At Your Funeral.” I have never let myself go at a show as much as I did for “At Your Funeral,” it was so easy and careless, a beautifully mashed together sing-along. The first bit of the tune is just Chris and his guitar, it was absolutely lovely to just allow the wreckless, maccabre lyrics explode out of me. A brilliant release for everyone in the crowd.

I remember this video came out around the same time as the Weezer video for “Island in the Sun,” consequently, getting a ton of flack for the use of puppets.

(On the song “At Your Funeral”): “We loved writing and directing this one. We had to bleep the word “high” for the broadcast version, and this is the original without the audio edit. We were obsessed with “Requiem for a Dream,” which is where we (the directors) got the idea to use motion control. Plus, my mom Patricia is in it at the end…and she rules.”

He also touched a great deal of In Reverie, an album that I personally adore. This album did poorly in sales, but I really feel as though it was heartfelt and a good change for a little punk rock band from New Jersey. A very mature shift in their sound. They played “Anywhere With You,” “What Went Wrong” and “Monkey.” I was very shocked to hear the last two in their live repetoire. “What Went Wrong” reads like a children’s poem, completely off the wall.

I’m so sorry for the advertisment, you can actually skip it in just three pointless seconds. This video is fantastic, it just look so organic:


I really loved hearing “Third Engine,” a tune I never really gave the time of day when I was getting into Through Being Cool. There’s something so ridiculous about the lyrics and that’s something that really hasn’t changed throughout the history of the band. Conley’s words have sort of just maintained a weird feel to them, never ordinary, always off-beat. 

Did you know, my sweet

Yeah, that I once took the liberty of watching you in your sleep?
I rolled over and over
Trying to touch your knees, yeah, underneath the sheets
Trying to touch your knees

It was really lovely to hear one of my favourite bands play live. I really took comfort in being able to completely shut my wandering mind off and set my brain on auto-pilot, being over taken by the familiar.

Also, I should note that I have had the urge I need to get into their new trilogy, starting with Sound the Alarm. I have to admit, I really didn’t give it the chance. As always, I found myself thoroughly enjoying the song “Eulogy.”

Moving onto the Get Up Kids. Have you hear this band? Where were you in 2003 with the release of Guilt Show? I will forever and always remember the 2003 Guilt Show tour as my introduction to Leslieville, back when it was iffy. Leslieville has now become brunch capitol of Toronto and a lovely place for Toronto Life readers to raise their children. I remember being so wry about seeing the Get Up Kids at the Opera House that I got my friends father to drive us right to the door.

It was also the show that I was introduced to Rocky Votolato and Recover, two bands that I still kind of like (the former more than the latter).

I was a little heartbroken to only hear two tunes off of Guilt Show – “Never Be Alone” and “Holy Roman.” They made a really beautiful instrumental transition into “Holy Roman” that copied the albums form to a tee.

Feast your ears on the sweet intro:

Pryor confirmed the song “Never Be Alone” was written by Rob Pope about his 2003 divorce from The Anniversary keyboardist Adrianne Verhoeven.

They really hashed through their lovely album Something to Write Home About, album that sold 140,000 copies after its release, single handedly saving the struggling label Vagrant. With “I’ll Catch You” as one of the closers, very surprisingly. Apparently, Mark Hoppus proposed to his wife to this song in 2000, imagine that.

In their closing bit they did a cover of Blur’s “Girls & Boys”

I love the energy this band puts into their songs. Lead singer Matt Pryor has an incredible live voice, everything he is recorded.

I learned that their bassist Rob Pope is also the bassist of Spoon as well.

Side bar:

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>Michigan, Ann Arbor my fall getaway

>First time in Michigan. Spent my days and nights in Ann Arbor mostly.

I found three really great record stores in Ann Arbor:

Encore Records

417 East Liberty St.

Ann Arbor, MI 48104-2207

A great small space record store stuff to the brim. This trip I had no interest in buying vinyl because I find it’s far too difficult and fragile to bring on the plane, but if I was this is the place I would spend my time in. There seemed to be an infinite supply that I couldn’t keep up with. I really dug their CD collection too – displayed by the spines of empty CD cases. I found it a little difficult to look at at times with thousands of titles displayed from the ceiling to the floor. Rolling Stone called this store one of the top twenty five record stores in the US. The guys working there were both nice and very knowledgable.

Wazoo

336 1/2 S State St

Ann Arbor, MI 48104-2868

I have these moments every so often where I go completely crazy over a store because it looks identical to one in Toronto. This one reminded me so much of Vortex at Yonge and Sheppard in Toronto. It was located upstairs in the heart of UMich’s campus and had a good supply of CDs with some records and fewer DVDs. I managed to drop a good $60 in this store over two trips there. They carried both new and used goods – but suprisingly a good used selection. The let down was that their base price is $7.99, which I found was more than most places in Ann Arbor.

Underground Sounds

255 E Liberty Suite# 249

Ann Arbor, MI, 48104

This store was the most genre specific store catered to the indie nerds out there. I found their selection and price to be incredible because they were fairly cheap – CDs averaging for six bucks. Their selection was great because their buyers were picking crap that i’d like. Not what i’d do for my record store. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t carry the bad Canadian band that has a lead singer named Chad that I don’t want to be affiliated with my blog in any way. I just wouldn’t be so specific. In this case it worked for me, I got an Explosions album for six bucks! Gold.

I was recommended PJ’s (617 Packard St # B, Ann Arbor, MI) but I never made it out there.

Dawn Treader (514 E. LibertyAnn Arbor, MI48104) was the finest book shop I’ve been to in a while. Cheap, below half price book rates that made my trip a very pleasant one. The only draw back of this store is that it’s almost impossible to navagate in, so all my finds were more or less pleasant surprises! I will most certainly be back to this store to take in the wonderful old smell of books and to support local businesses. Best find.

Songs to do with Michigan or Ann Arbor, off the top of my head:

This video of Beirut’s two second take on the following song:

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