Say Anything @ XOYO – 24/05/2012

By Tom Aylott


Some venues were clearly meant to be venues. As you step into the room in these places, you feel yourself immersed in the live music experience. I can emphatically say that XOYO is not one of those places. A dingy, industrial basement someone thought to shove a stage in at the last minute, it’d clearly make a really cool nightclub if you’re the type of person that enjoys the experience of a Hollister store. Tacked onto the bill with no prior notice, Eliza And The Bear warm us up for the main event tonight with their fairly insipid blend of indie, pop and folk; delivered in the fashion of bands like Dry The River and Mumford And Sons. They win over the crowd almost immediately due to their “c’est la vie” attitude towards the faltering microphones, but provide very little satisfaction beyond a few brief foot-tapping moments.

For the first time in four years, Say Anything hit our shores, warming up tonight prior to this weekend’s Slam Dunk festival in Leeds and Hatfield. It’s fair to say this is an expectant crowd, as when they burst into ‘Belt’, the place goes utterly apeshit. The band clearly love playing here, as newly hirsute frontman Max Bemis constantly professes throughout tonight’s set, and the crowd respond in kind. Their entire discography gets a fair airing, but it’s tracks from 2004’s ‘…Is A Real Boy’ that get the greatest reception, with ‘Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too’ and main set closer ‘Alive With The Glory Of Love’ sparking singalongs en masse.

Curiously, the band opt not to play much at all from newest record “Anarchy, My Dear”, which is set for release in June. Say Anything evidently know what an audience expecting their presence for nearly half a decade require, and deliver it in spadefuls. The band do their best to overcome the dreadful sound of the venue with an energetic display, with Bemis in particular bounding about the stage and up to the barrier like an excitable puppy.

As anti-hipster tirade “Admit It!” closes out the night, every person in sight sports a Cheshire cat grin. Say Anything have truly rocked East London tonight, a truly awesome tour de force of indie rock, pop-punk and emo. Just don’t leave it another four years before you visit us again, eh chaps?


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