Saves The Day / Kevin Devine / An Horse – The Stone Pony – Asbury Park, NJ – 11/10/18

For 20 years Saves The Day have been through ups and downs, no pun intended, as a band and through all of it, have never slowed down.  Through the numerous member changes and record labels, Saves The Day have stayed constant with one thing, putting out good quality music.  In 2018 Saves The Day would release their 9th full length simply titled 9, and still after all the years, Saves The Day produced another high quality piece of art.  For this album Chris Conley, lead singer and remaining original member, wanted to tell the story about Saves The Day through his eyes.  With this year being their 20th anniversary it seemed appropriate to look back and reflect.  With the new album comes the tour which brought them back home for one night in New Jersey.  Opening the night was Australian duo, An Horse.  On one end of the stage was drummer Damon Cox and on the other side was guitarist and vocalist Kate Cooper.  The duo’s 30 minute set was flawlessly executed with the crowd thoroughly enjoying their set.  For their last song Kevin Devine joined them on bass which the crowd relished in and was met with a thunderous applause.

Performing next was long time friend to Saves The Day, Kevin Devine.  Even though Kevin was playing solo, his set still kept the crowd engrossed in his every movement.  Also returning the favor by playing two songs on drums was Damon Cox, who plays in Kevin’s Goddamn Band.  However, the most mesmerizing part of Kevin’s set came at the end when he belted out “Brother’s Blood”.  Any sound from the crowd went quiet when Kevin stepped away from the mic and yelled the rest of the song.  For fans of Kevin, they knew this was going to happen, but others were off guard and looked overly impressed.  For the many times I’ve seen Kevin solo this was one of his top performances.

My first introduction to Saves The Day was back in 2001 when a school friend told me they went to a show at Crocodile Rock Cafe in Allentown, PA and saw Hey Mercedes, Thursday, and Saves The Day.  I knew the show was going on and heard the names of the bands, but being young didn’t have the means of income to attend.  My friend told me I would like Saves The Day though and he let me listen to the album he bought, Stay What You Are.  Eventually I would go to my local record store and pick up that album, which then led me to going and getting Can’t Slow Down on red vinyl.  Wish I still had that vinyl, not sure why it hasn’t been repressed, but I was a fan and wouldn’t regret long missing that show.  In 2012 for my Birthday my cousin and I attended the Pop Disaster Tour in Hershey, PA and was honestly more excited to see Saves The Day, who played amazing.  Oddly enough the next time I saw Saves The Day was in November of the same year at Crocodile Rock.  Everything seemed to work out and from then on I followed Saves The Day with each album and saw them anytime they came near me.  I bring this up because for about 17 of the 20 years of Saves The Day existence I’ve watched them go through their changes as I changed, and their albums became a soundtrack to my life at some point.  Also little did I know, when Saves The Day were looking for a guitarist around 1998 my cousin from Perth Amboy almost tried out, but didn’t due to him thinking he wouldn’t measure up to their technique as musicians.  What could’ve been if he did.  Regardless, I can’t remember what number this show was for me seeing Saves The Day, but I can say it felt like when I saw them back on the Pop Disaster Tour.  The energy from Chris and company was care-free, but overly exciting.  I am not sure if it was because they were in New Jersey, but seeing Chris just singing mostly on the mic with no guitar was very nostalgic to when I saw them in 2002.  Also it goes without saying that the current lineup has always added a new layer to the songs.  Guitarist Arun Bali and bassist Rodrigo Palma are musical geniuses while Dennis Wilson reminds me of Bryan Newman’s drum playing.  As for this tour’s setlist, it is perfect for that it covers all of Saves The Day’s history and goes for about a hour and a half.  Saves The Day have proved that they just want to write songs and perform them, and their shows are a perfect example.  You sometimes think they will the show end, because they don’t seem to want to stop.  Even though this date was a memorable one for me, and hopefully everyone else, one way I would like to see Saves The Day is how they started and clearly written all over their new album, in a basement.  A band like this holds a lot of nostalgia and a basement setting would bring it full circle.

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