Monday, October 8, 2007

Saves the Day @ Subterranean

Saves the Day rocks the night with an acoustic set

It was nearly the end of Saves the Day’s set before members of the audience began dancing and thrashing along to their songs Sunday night. But the loving crowd was singing along to the band’s acoustic set since the first notes of “This Exit” were played, using their energy to sing along and listen instead of moving.

The two floors of Subterranean were packed with an all-ages, sold-out crowd. Men wearing tight jeans and urban military caps were standing next to teenage girls dressed in band T-shirts and flats, both nodding their heads in time and singing along to the songs, occasionally jumping up and down.

Only half of Saves the Day embarked on its first Acoustic Tour: lead singer Chris Conley and guitarist David Soloway chose “quality over vision” as the pair opted to sit in chairs rather than on the stools placed for them. Armed with a microphone and guitars, the two led the audience through almost 90 minutes of songs from all four of the band’s full-length albums, as well as a few B-sides, tracks from compilation CDs, and a song from their upcoming album.

Conley and Soloway played mostly older fan-favorites from the band’s full-length albums: 1998’s Can’t Slow Down, 1999’s Through Being Cool, 2001’s Stay What You Are and 2003’s In Reverie. Among the songs that got the crowd singing to a deafening level inside the venue were “Rocks Tonic Juice Magic,” “Third Engine” and “Freakish.”

Although things for Conley have changed since the band’s beginnings in 1997, including a number of lineup changes and hairstyles (he currently wears it long), Conley’s voice is the same it was a decade ago -- a bit nerdy, a dash angry, a little heartbroken and a lot emo. Conley’s voice has become one of the most distinguishable in the world of pop-rock, and though he is nearing his 30s, Conley continues to wear his heart on his sleeve, singing for all those blue-eyed teenage boys whose hearts have been broken by beautiful teenage girls.

In between songs, Conley was chatty with the listeners, sharing stories about the duo’s experiences while on this tour and engaging audience members in conversation. After someone asked Conley which Beatles’ album was his favorite at the moment, he began playing what he said was one of the only cover songs he knew, “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”

At the end of their set, and after a short break, Conley and Soloway returned to the stage, guitars in hand, to play a handful of fan requests as they had promised earlier in the set. Playing past the City of Chicago’s 10 p.m. curfew, Conley indulged the screaming fans with songs including “Jessie and My Whetstone,” “Take Our Cars Now!” and ending with “You Vandal.”

Supporting Saves the Day were Denver’s Single File and Chicagoland’s own Dr. Manhattan, whose punk/screamo combination and pulsating drum beats had the audience captivated for the entirety of its set and which inspired some audience members to move to the rhythm of the songs. - Marcy Miranda