Say Anything – Sheffield Leadmill

By paul

The first thing I feel at liberty to mention, is that Sheffield has a massive lack of Subways. After trailing around what seemed like most of the city, myself and gig buddy Spud@ were forced to dine at Burger King rather than something we actually wanted to eat. So if anyone knows where we can get a sandwich in Sheffield, please let us know. The other thing that came out of last night’s gig was just how few people seem to have heard of Say Anything. Expecting the tour to be a sell out, I doubt there were many more than 100 people there, which was a massive surprise. However, it did seem that all 100 were huge fans and the atmosphere and singalongs generated were excellent – this was probably the best big/small gig I’ve been to in terms of crowd behaviour in quite some time.

THINK:FIRE are opening this tour and the Scots have a very competent Circa Survive/Incubus/Finch (without the screaming) style. Their singer Bruce Mackenzie is a very good frontman, hitting some difficult notes with ease and he manages to liven up a pretty sedate band over the course of what seems to be a long 30-minute set. While each song tends to take on a pretty lengthy journey of its own, the band, tonight at least, seem to be going through the motions on stage and look as if they’re about to fall asleep – singer aside. As a result, after about two or three songs I started to lose interest – if the band are bored then the crowd are likely to be too. The crowd, sparse anyway, started to drift away too and by the end I think everyone had had enough. In spells Think:Fire stood out, so check them out on myspace and make up your own mind. (7)

Everyone knows I’m biased towards THE MAPLE STATE and their recent run of great support slots is not before time. big things are around the corner and the reactions they’ve been getting recently prove it’s just deserved. Tonight there’s a mix of old and new material – ‘Mouse Moves’ and ‘We Swear By the Light Life’ show a more considered ‘indie’ side, while ‘Mayfair…’ and a brand new song the band opened with showcases their energetic and more synth-led side. A new version of ‘Joanna’ ends things with 100 or so people won over. They’re the best band at what they do in the country and they’re getting better with every passing show. (8)

I honestly thought this gig would sell out. After signing to a Sony imprint in the US, and a spell on Give It A Name over here, I really did think the kids would be out in force for SAY ANYTHING. Instead, about 100 people turned up who seemed less bothered about their clothes and haircut and instead sung along with gusto – the singalongs were amazing and I think the band were plesantly surprised about just how many people were excited by their presence. Max Bemis may have had his problems in the past, but that’s what makes ‘…is a real boy’ such essential listening. Running through most of the album, the band are energetic and aggressive and Max is a fantastic frontman. ‘Slowly Through A Vector’ and ‘Belt’ are fantastic, ‘Woe’ and ‘Yellow cat (slash) Red Cat’ spark massive singalongs with some of the kids in the front row even handling vocal duties when Max needed a break. With three guitars the band sound beefy and tight as hell – but are more than competent at slowing things down slightly during the intro to ‘Every Man Has A Molly’ – my favourite track of the night and another which sparked a massive singalong. By the time ‘Alive With The Glory Of Love’ comes round, the crowd are completely won over. Say Anything are one of the better live bands I’ve seen this year and, in a small venue, are a must see on this tour. (9)