Where Is My Mind?

my mindWhere is my mind?

It’s slowly fading away as the weight of the world crushes down on me. There’s a perfect lyric in Say Anything’s “Colorblind” that speaks to me directly, despite the fact that Max Bemis has no idea who I am.

“I move too slow and I think too fast.”

That’s me in a nutshell, and lately it has overwhelmed me as I deal with work, my health, a chaotic living situation, dysfunctional family members, temperamental friends and a locker room of professional wrestlers. I’m hoping to come out on the other side of this, but I could really use a sign that things are going to work out.

Recovery: Part Deux

jc surgeryIt’s been one helluva week for me.

Between Thanksgiving, NCW WrestleFest, the amazing Say Anything/Saves the Day concert (with Reggie & the Full Effect!) and my second (final) eye surgery on Tuesday the last seven days have been a perpetual blur for me.

As I sit here nursing the stitches above my eye, unable to drive, going stir crazy and cabin fever settling in I’ve realized it’s going to be one long fucking month of recovery.

The good news? When it’s all said and done I’ll have both my eyes back and will finally be able to put 2014 in my rear view while looking ahead at the new year to come.

With all this excess time on my hands I’ll be digging into my Netflix list and start reviewing those movies I had planned on watching during my last LOA from work, checking out the last penultimate episode of Sons of Anarchy currently sitting on my DVR, and laying back at some point today to listen to the latest edition of Serial (you should too).

sayanything
Say Anything’s 10 year anniversary of “Is a Real Boy…”

To be continued…

 

#Hebrews

Hebrews_612_coverartI love Say Anything.

Always have, and always will. I’ve explained previously what a profound impact Max Bemis and his lyrics have had on my life and Say Anything’s latest opus, Hebrews, once again infects my inner-ear, permeating it with the buzzing of its sublime sounds. I apologize if it sounds like hyperbole, but there isn’t an artist working today that I relate to more than Bemis, despite having never lived a life of bipolar disorder and drug fueled mayhem.

When “Six Six Six” was previewed leading up to Hebrews release I was immediately enthralled with the sound, especially after doing some digging and reading an interview with Max where he stated the album would have a completely different sound and feel, foregoing guitars in favor of an assortment of sting instruments.

“Six Six Six”, the first single from “Hebrews” premiered with Billboard! The song can be streamed here: http://bit.ly/PwRjvq

After picking up the CD my initial reaction to listening to all twelve tracks (in one sitting of course) was a bit lukewarm. It was still undeniably Max, and it definitely had more edge than previous works (Say Anything, their self titled third studio album specifically), but at the end of my session I felt like I wanted more from the album. It wasn’t until my third listen that I truly started to appreciate the songs, and the story Bemis was telling. Overall my favorite tracks include the terrific opener “John McClane”, “Six Six Six”, “Hebrews”, “The Shape of Love to Come”, and “Lost My Touch”. To me these are the most infectious tunes on the album, and ones I will be listening to years from now with the rest of my favorites.

The Rarities Tour at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston, MA
The Rarities Tour coming through the Paradise Rock Club in Boston, MA

In great Buzfeed tradition, I now rank my favorite studio albums from the band (this excludes the amaaaaaaaazing Baseball album and other singles that were apart of the SA Rarities album released in 2013).

  1. …Is A Real Boy/Was A Real Boy (Still the very  best, and an album that is constantly in my rotation. “Belt” and “Woe” may be my quintessential Say Anything songs)
  2. Anarchy, My Dear (Whenever I listen to this album, it reminds me of Victoria and everything we shared in our friendship/relationship. The title track “Anarchy, My Dear” is truly my love song for her, and though it’s occasionally tough to listen too I can’t help but play it off to sleep on those nights of insomnia)
  3. Hebrews (This may change as time passes, but for now I’m sticking this at #3. It’s pretty fucking good)
  4. In Defense of the Genre (My feelings on this two disc anthem changes every time I listen to it, and though I find it the most disjointed SA album it still has a variety of awesome songs)
  5. Say Anything (Probably my least favorite, I found it to be too far away from what I felt Say Anything was musically. This may also be because I found myself immersed with the bands original music pre-IARB)
Max takes the stage (6/29/2014)
Max takes the stage (6/29/2014)

***Edited to add***

Last night was the Say Anything tour at the House of Blues Boston and what a great fucking show it was! All the opening bands kicked ass (specific shout out to the So So Glos who really impressed me) and Max and crew blew the roof off HOB as they always do. Though I prefer Say Anything at a smaller venue, any time I get to experience this band live I am a happy camper. Plus I got to meet some awesome people, and sing my heart out with a fellow hardcore SA fan. Twas a good night.

Anarchy, My Dear…

After nearly three years since their last record (their 2009 self titled album), Say Anything has finally returned with a vengeance, releasing their fourth studio album and in my opinion their best effort yet– Anarchy, My Dear.

I found Say Anything a bit later than most hardcore fans, but was quickly hooked when 95.5 WBRU began playing “Alive With the Glory of Love” round the clock on our local airwaves. I will never forget Say Anything because they came into my life at the perfect instant, immediately encapsulating my thoughts and feelings at that one moment in time.

It was August 2006, and I had recently come back into contact with my ex-girlfriend Carolyn. It had been over three years since our relationship ended, and while I was angry with her for what had happened like all things time healed most wounds. The biggest issue I still harbored with our split was the lack of closure that had been caused. Things ended so abruptly, it made getting over her infinitely more difficult. Earlier that year, we began e-mailing each other after she had reached out to me. Her relationship with her boyfriend had recently ended (the guy she left me for), and she had remorse with how things went down between us. I had bought the …Is A Real Boy re-release around this time, and began playing it nonstop while talking back forth via electronic communication with my former flame. After a month of chatting, we bit the bullet and decided we should probably meet up in person since it had been so long since our last encounter.

She offered to come down this way (she had recently moved back home after graduating from college), and decided we’d meet at the local mall for coffee. While it was awkward at first, it was one of the most liberating experiences of my life. Like slipping into a pair of comfortable shoes, it felt like we fell back three years and were right where we started. Coffee turned to dinner and the two of us ended up taking a stroll down on Thayer Street in Providence, reminiscing about the days of old. There was honestly nothing romantic about the evening despite the setup. It was just two old friends reuniting and putting the past to bed.

That weekend I found out that Say Anything was playing Monday night at Lupo’s Heartbreak Hotel, and I was determined to go. Without a partner in crime, I called up Carolyn and asked if she wanted to join me for the show.

It was one of the best concert experiences of my life, and was completely caught up in the electricity of that night. It was also the first time Carolyn & I were able to share a legal drink together, considering we were both jailbait when we were dating.

I’ll never forget Max, Coby, and the gang that night and I’ll never forget that I shared this moment with Carolyn either. That week her and I spent a ton of time together (midnight swimming, hiking, lots of talking), and when it was over we went our separate ways. She started a new career as a teacher, and I was starting a new job myself (at a company I still work for to this day), but to me it wasn’t the end. It was just another chapter in my journey of self-discovery.

In that journey Say Anything has been with me since, as cheesy as it sounds. I snatched up every record they released, I began reading up about Max’s issues with depression and drug addiction, I saw the band live on numerous occasions, and I searched out any b-side, demo, or self-released song I could find.  I was now a disciple on the Altar of Bemis, and I wasn’t even a 17 year old girl!

To me Anarchy, My Dear is the perfect culmination of the work Say Anything has put forth over the years, combining all the sounds and variations of their eclectic style, producing a brilliant symphony thanks to Tim O’Heir returning as producer and puppetmaster. When the first single “Burn A Miracle” was released, I was taken back with the raw sound on display, especially after recently consuming the majority of Say Anything’s earlier work (Baseball, Menorah/Majora)  which many fans claim the band left behind following the success of …Is A Real Boy. An ignorant dismissal if you’ve truly followed the evolution of the band.

As the album began leaking out over the interweb and on the youtubes, I found myself at another crossroads in my life. For years I had become close with a friends cousin, building a friendship based out of my own ignorance and drunken stupidity. The day I had met her in 2009 I was rude, condescending, and straight up bullish to this poor girl who had only come to Massachusetts for her cousins baby shower.  Looking back, I’m glad I did what I did because it brought this girl into my life and changed me forever. She reached out to me in the days following our fateful meeting, and why I have no idea (it’s because she likes assholes). But because of this, and because she lived six hours away from me in New York, we instantly became close with each other. There was no need for secrets, and we became support for one another whether we immediately realized it or not. It’s not hyperbole to say that she became one of my best friends, a soul mate I never knew I was missing until she had arrived in my life.

Late last year I began to realize how much I cared for her and her daughter, and despite not seeing her since that night in 09′, it didn’t change the fact that everything I was feeling was real and I knew she felt the same despite the million roadblocks in front of us. Just as Say Anything was about to release their newest, my life was evolving yet again. Victoria came to visit the weekend before Anarchy, My Dear was released and that weekend made everything we had built up over two and a half years tangible in just an instant. While that incredible feeling of happiness was fleeting due to some unforeseen complications, the second I bought Anarchy, My Dear all those feelings came rushing back thanks to the work of this amazing band. Listening to this album will always remind me of how much I love Victoria, and how much my experiences with Carolyn and the other follies of my 29 year old existence has brought me here to who I am today, and who I want to be.

The emotional attachment I have definitely skews my opinion, but no one can deny the gravity of  “The Stephen Hawking” or the beauty of the titular track. “So Good” evokes the feelings of the sensuality and love behind every lyric. I had bought Tori & I tickets to see Say Anything at the House of Blues this past April, and while she obviously couldn’t join me she was most definitely there in spirit. Max & Company put on an amazing show despite my issues with the House of Blues itself (I’m pretty bummed they skipped Providence on this tour frankly), and was completely transported back to that wonderful night in the summer of 2006.

To me Anarchy, My Dear is an opus of hope, and when I dream of days that we might share I must thank Max for putting these wonderful words into my head and my heart.

Saves the Day saves the day… Say Anything can say anything… Motion City Soundtrack uh, kinda sucks.

Got the opportunity to go to WBRU’s Birthday Bash last night at Lupo’s featuring Saves The Day and Say Anything, with Motion City Soundtrack headlining .

It would be an understatement for me to say the main reason I was going was for Say Anything, but the fact that Saves The Day was playing too became icing on the cake. I hadn’t listened to any of the recent STD (haha) records, but I most definitely have a fondness for their old work.

When it comes to Say Anything however, I am a huge fan having devoured their last three records, listening to them on a consistent basis. I’m not sure why I gravitate towards Max Bemis and crew so much, but I love their stuff with a passion with this being my third concert of theirs in the last four years.

Saves The Day was awesome, although I only recognized the majority of their old songs (as previously mentioned). The atmosphere was diverse, with a lot of twenty-somethings and teeny bopper tweens (for Motion City) mingling within Lupo’s/The Roxy/The Strand/etc. On the main stage a giant, over sized Say Anything logo (the logo from their most recent album) loomed overhead like an enormous bed sheet, giving the entire scene a low budget “indie” vibe.

I finally got inside after fighting through Providence traffic around 6:40pm, just as Saves The Day dug into their set. While I hate paying for any parking downtown, I had to concede there was no way I was parking anywhere on the street thanks to events at the Civic AND Convention Center at the same time. Victory was mine as I found a $6 parking lot at the edge of Washington Street, the cheapest in Downcity. I paid the guy with a $20, and made my way toward Lupo’s while bundling up. When I got inside and went to grab my ticket, I realized the old man had given me $24 back for change. I actually MADE money by parking! Whoo!

After enjoying a moderately priced Bud Light for nearly $5 (!), I decided I might as well stick to the hard liquor since it was only an extra $2. After mixing it up between old and new, STD closed their set with “At Your Funeral” popping the crowd huge. Once they left it was pretty clear the majority of people there were waiting for Say Anything.

There was ten minute lull between sets, giving me an opportunity to hit the head. With a line nearly out the door for the Ladies Room, girls began piling into the Mens Room looking for the cleanest stall. It felt like some twisted game in “The Amazing Race”, with the winning party getting to pee in peace.

Say Anything was amazing, with Bemis having the crowd eat out of his hand from the get go. They played a mix of their three most recent records, throwing in “Color Blind” for fun. At the midway point Bemis brought out Saves The Day’s Chris Conley for the duo to combine for their side project Two Tongues. Following that Say Anything built to their finale closing things out with “Belt”.

Motion City Soundtrack was the Main Event, and to me expectations were high. I’ve only listened to the bands most recent effort and frankly I wasn’t convinced. With Saves The Day and especially Say Anything already bringing down the house, this crew had a lot to live up to. Unfortunately for me they just couldn’t cut it, all things considered.

Their lead singer was sick and losing his voice, prompting him to engage the crowd in “sing-a-long” for most of their set. This would be fine if it wasn’t a giant concert that I just paid $30 for. Honestly if you knew you weren’t feeling well, you should have bowed out so one of the other bands could go on last, keeping the crowd hot throughout. I left with about 20 minutes left in the show, mainly to avoid traffic but mostly because the band just didn’t impress.

Overall a very good time, and I look forward to the next time I can see Saves The Day, as they return to the area to do an acoustic session December 8th in Cambridge!