Saves the Day is not a very good band. They were once, in fact, an amazing band who released three very fantastic albums (Can’t Slow Down; Through Being Cool; Stay What You Are). But much like Weezer before them, Saves the Day decided they wanted to be nauseatingly terrible. So they released an album of slow, mellow, “melodic” tunes punctuated by Saves the Day mastermind Chris Conley’s sudden desire to sing softer and through his nose. Despite a return to faster and more angry music with this year’s Sound the Alarm, the damage is done and all hope is lost.But, you can still go see Saves the Day and they will play the songs made anyone like them in the first place. It is here, on a semi-rainy, kinda-cloudy day on the parkway in Philly that about 150 students from neighboring colleges and universities in the city are doing just that. The band takes the stage and goes right for the jugular with a spirited rendition of “Holly Hox Forget Me Not.” It takes a minute for the crowd to realiaze but Saves the Day is playing all their songs slower.
This from the man who once said “a train can go as fast as I want it to.”
Now, they are not playing them considerably slower; we’re not talking Clapton switching from electric to acoustic for “Layla” here, but it’s just slow enough that you notice yourself singing along to words that haven’t been sung yet. It’s most punk bands’ problem that they play their songs too fast live. So instead of rocketing through songs like “All Star Me” and “Jesse & My Whetstone,” Conley and friends take our hands and lead us, careful not to prick our fingers on those nasty punk chords.
These songs are not exactly terrible, mind you. The crowd still went crazy when Saves the Day busted out “My Sweet Fracture” and lovers held each other while whispering lyrics back and forth during “Nightingale.” Yes, the crowd eventually got over listening to what sounded like Through Being Cool being played on a cassette in a boombox with dying batteries and started engaging the band. The band, seemingly unphased by negative energy from the audience, wore big smiles, cracked jokes and had what looked like, a whole mess of fun on stage. By the end, there wasn’t a person in a hundred yards that wasn’t singing along.
There are always going to be a lot of unanswered questions whenever you see/hear/eat Saves the Day. Why is he so bad on the new album, but great live? Why is “Firefly” so slow? But most of all, why couldn’t they play this set list four years ago when they were the greatest band alive?