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Review: Say Anything at the House of Blues

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Say Anything vocalist and front man Max Bemis performs Wednesday at the House of Blues in Chicago

Say Anything vocalist and front man Max Bemis performs Wednesday at the House of Blues in Chicago. (Erin Yarnall / The DePaulia)

On a rainy Thursday night, while the streets of downtown Chicago were practically empty, the House of Blues was filled to the brim with fans waiting eagerly to see Say Anything’s most recent tour, with incredible opening bands and a string quartet accompanying Say Anything.

Despite being part of a cheesy chain of music venues, the interior of the House of Blues is astonishing. The three floors of the venue are all decorated in unique and interesting ways, and was ultimately an excellent choice of venue for the tour’s stop on July 16.

Hard Girls, a three-piece band from San Jose, started off the night with their energetic and fun pop-punk. Not many members of the crowd were familiar with their music, but by the end of their set they had a majority of the crowd nodding along.

Although I was most excited to see Say Anything, the best set of the night was Cymbals Eat Guitars. The New York-based quartet were bursting with talent, and had a much different sound than the other pop-punk bands that played, and it became obvious that their influences came from a wide range of places. They also had songs tackling dark subjects, such as pill addiction, but through their frantic and lively performance they’re able to make them fun. One of the best parts of watching Cymbals Eat Guitars was the way they were able to make all of their songs sound unique, and have different elements to them — which is something rare, especially at a pop-punk show.

When Cymbals Eat Guitars were performing, they listed off all the other bands playing that night. Despite Say Anything being the headliner, the band that got the most cheers was Modern Baseball. The pop-punk band, which was filled with seemingly really young adults, had the crowd jumping, screaming and crowdsurfing throughout the entirety of their set. The entire ground was bouncing throughout their whole set, actually scaring me that I would fall through to the bottom level of the venue, and the crowd was singing along so passionately that they were just as loud as the Philadelphia-based band.

Say Anything aren’t new to the House of Blues and its crowds, having played there in late 2014 in support of the ten year anniversary of the band’s most beloved album, “…Is A Real Boy,” which was released in 2004. Many fans stopped listening to the band after the release of the band’s following albums, which many claim weren’t as good as “…Is A Real Boy.” Frontman Max Bemis called out fans like this at their most recent show, saying “This song is for anyone who hasn’t been able to move past a record released in 2004,” before launching into “Judas Decapitation,” off of their most recent album “Hebrews,” which was released in 2014.

Although the venue was not as filled as it was for their late 2014 stop, there were plenty of fans who haven’t moved on from the band. When watching Say Anything live, it’s easy to see why the fans haven’t moved on. Max Bemis is the epitome of everything a frontman should be, as he energetically and charismatically danced across the stage, and engaging with the crowd at every opportunity. Bemis wasn’t the only engaging performer during Say Anything’s act, the entire band was bursting with energy and excitement, which made for a lively performance.

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Review: Say Anything at the House of Blues