Not even two minutes into Saves The Day’s highly anticipated headlining set on February 27th at Slim’s, a fight broke out in the front row. What the fight was about, or whom it was between, I’m not entirely sure. But this isn’t something you would expect to happen at a Saves The Day show. But I’ll say this: the second the band noticed something going down, they stopped the song. They waited as security successfully got the person who instigated the fight out of the venue. The draining of such toxicity created an environment of positivity, and it seemed to make people all the more grateful it was now absent from such a scene.
Saves The Day performed a set that spanned their entire career thus far, a whopping 24 songs within the hour and a half (maybe two?) hours that they performed for the packed San Francisco crowd. From the moment that the show really got started, when vocalist Chris Conley sings the opening lines to “At Your Funeral”, their set was full speed ahead, traversing through songs featured on Stay What You Are, their breakout Through Being Cool, In Reverie, and their newest effort, 2018’s 9.
The tour was opened by upcoming alternative rock act Mighty, who got things off to a good start. Things really picked up, however, when main support Remo Drive took the stage. I had never heard of them before this tour, but many people in attendance had. It’s always thrilling to see an opening act generate buzz; you can see something very special happening right in front of you, and the reaction to Remo Drive’s performance was no exception to this. Their performance ran about 40 minutes, and it left things off on a perfect note for Saves The Day to swoop in and close out the night in the best way possible.
Saves The Day proves that, after being around for as long as they have (since 1997, if you can believe it), you only get better with age. That performance at Slim’s stands as a true testament to a band that has spent the last twenty years perfecting their craft. Yes, many lineup changes have occurred over the years, thus leaving frontman Conley as the sole original member of the group. But Conley has harnessed an impeccable knack for being able to bring these songs to life, for generations of emo and pop-punk fans new and old. Arun Bali (guitar), Rodrigo Palma (bass), and Dennis Wilson (drums) have been present on the newer material since 2009 (with the exception of Wilson who joined in 2013), and they’re able to inflict their own sensibilities into the older music in a way that plays out so well.
I think I began this review with the anecdote about the fight because it shows us that negativity really can be found anywhere. It’s a horrible thing to think about, and not really the best way to choose to live your life, but if you acknowledge it, there really is an upside: you can find it, confront it, and toss it out. It makes the positive moments of life that much sweeter, knowing that you collectively took charge. In a way, it was a really beautiful thing to see a group of people work to get negativity out of the crowd, rather than succumbing to it and letting it ruin the experience of the evening. This genre is a community based around the idea that we need to be lifting each other up, and not tearing each down. When that element comes into play not only in music, but in real-life situations like that…well, it really is just beautiful.