Live: Saves the Day at Revolution, November 8

Saves the Day
with Bayside
Revolution, Fort Lauderdale
Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Better Than:
Sweating your ass off and being packed in like a bunch of sardines the last time Saves the Day was here.

At the ripe age of 15, I had a crush on Chris Conley, but who didn't? Saves the Day is one of the great bands from the early '00s. Over a decade later, I'm not ashamed to say that I still do; however, the present-day version of the band is more "the Chris Conley Show" than STD.

The scent of Axe and bromance lingered in the air. At 8:30 p.m. on the dot, the crowd began chanting "STD! STD! STD!" -- perhaps it's because the band decided to post set times on its Facebook page earlier in the day. Despite the eager crowd's failed attempt, the band took the stage around ten minutes later with a very dramatic entrance -- curtains up to reveal them and everything. 

Opening the set with golden oldie "Firefly" started the set out on a high note. But following it with "Shoulder to the Wheel" gave off a false sense of security in thinking that we'd hear old stuff all night. Sadly, the night immediately took a nosedive when the band went into "Deranged & Desperate" and "The End." Aside from the superdedicated STD fans, the looks on veteran fans' faces was one of disappointment.

We get it: You have to play some new stuff, but is that really what anyone wants to hear? To the band's credit, it did pull out some old hits -- "Freakish," "Anywhere With You," "Holly Hox," and a few others -- but it's the same ones they usually play; there are never any surprises. It would have been refreshing and nostalgic to sing along to "Rocks Tonic Juice Magic " or "Three Miles Down." It's also almost as though debut album Can't Slow Down doesn't even exist. 

"Play some old stuff!" yelled a voice from the crowd -- which continued throughout the night.

"We'll play a bunch of shit, don't worry," Conley reassured the crowd. "We should have just started at noon and played all our songs. "

Regardless of the material being played, the crowd in the pit was more than alive last night. There wasn't a quiet moment in the pit, and the poor security guards had their hands full with dudes as big as them crowd-surfing over the barracks. A rather large fellow even continued to sing the lyrics to "Drag in D Flat" as he was being carried like a child by the man in yellow.   

Despite the angsty and depressing lyrics, 31-year-old Conley still manages to smile and bounce around like a teenager in lust, often looking as though he's making love to the microphone. Bass player Rodrigo Palma is a lively firecracker in a small package, sort of like a tinier and tan version of Conley. He spent most of the night lifting his guitar over his head and pointing at the crowd to sing along even louder.

Closing the set with "At Your Funeral" was no surprise but definitely kept the band in good graces with the decadelong supporters. Maybe I'm jaded, or maybe I'm just too old for Saves the Day shows. But you can put money on it that if the band comes around next year, I'll be in the crowd yet again. What can I say? I'm a sucker for nostalgia.

Critic's Notebook

Personal bias: Saves the Day after 2001 doesn't do it for me.

The crowd: A lot of dudes, tweenagers, and seasoned fans sprinkled throughout.

Random detail: Chris Conley drinks Corona Light.

Overheard: "Oh my God. I'm never washing my hand again" --  20-something male who just shook the hand of Chris Conley after the show.

Set List:

Shoulder to the Wheel
Deranged & Desperate
The End
Cars & Calories
Your Ghost Takes Flight
Holly Hox, Forget Me Nots
Anywhere With You
Say You'll Never Leave
Undress Me
Can't Stay the Same
Drag in D Flat
At Your Funeral

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Betsey Denberg