Max Bemis in Amish Country

After a nice Mother’s Day dinner with the family, my wife and I headed to The Chameleon Club for the Say Anything show. The band is currently touring as an opening act for Angels & Airwaves, but luckily for us they decided to spend their off day headlining a date in Lancaster, PA.

I hadn’t been at the venue in several years, though I remembered liking it. However, as I have gotten older and grown up in the scene, I have come to value the presence of seating in a venue… unfortunately, The Chameleon does not possess this amenity. To be fair, however, it’s not as bad as the Crocodile Rock in regards to the discomfort factor. Either way, the aching feet of this old man were only a small price to pay to see one of my favorite bands in an intimate venue only 45 minutes from home.

First up to the plate was the local band Vacations. This show was apparently only their 5th as a band. Their local connection was evident, as they had a good vocal showing of fans in the crowd. This said, their set was solid. Their sound didn’t set them apart much, but they had a certain quality that made them a bit different. And as a young unit, their tightness was pretty impressive, though their stage presence was what stood out most.

It was hard to believe, based on the way they carried themselves on stage, that Vacations has only played live a handful of times. The lead singer had that “it” factor in how he connected to the crowd that usually takes a frontman years to establish. The band played well off of each other and was generally impressive. My only gripes about this band were that the bassist’s Converse were super bright, which made me think he bought them just for the show (you have to wear them in first, man!) and the hipster kid that sang backing vocals and played guitar had some tight jean short cutoffs that could make a Philly bike messenger blush.

The second band was Boyfriends. Another local PA act, I really dug this band’s sound. Funny thing was that as soon as the band came on stage to set up, I leaned over to my wife and said, “These guys are some kind of hardcore band.” Sure enough, I was right. Good energy, solid sound, and a guitarist with killer dance moves, though I must say that they felt a bit out of place at a Say Anything show, especially given that the opener has a pop-punk sound and Boyfriends was sandwiched in between.

After Boyfriends finished up there was altogether too much time before Say Anything went on stage, though the wait didn’t matter once Max and his merry band of men in matching outfits hit the stage. Opening with “Hate Everyone” the band played a variety of tracks from all 3 of their major releases. Notable inclusions: “Do Better”, “Shiksa” , “It’s a Metaphor Fool” , “Slowly, Through a Vector” , and Max playing solo versions of “Baby Girl, I’m a Blur” and “I Want to Know You Plans” . Notable exclusions: “Admit It!”

One of the things that struck me about their set was that my wife and I realized that having seen the band twice and were lucky to see the band play vastly different sets. It is great to see a band play a variety of different songs and it seems that it’s a rarity. Many bands play virtually the same set every time you seen them, thankfully Say Anything has not been that way at all.

Sunday night marked another great Say Anything show for my wife and I. Sure, the accommodations could have been a bit better for our old behinds, but at least we weren’t stuck watching a great band like Say Anything open up for Angels & Airwaves, thus paying more and getting less. Three cheers to Max and the boys!


~ by thepaintedman on May 10, 2010.

5 Responses to “Max Bemis in Amish Country”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Justin Harlan. Justin Harlan said: @wearevacations Check it: and email me so I have your contact info. […]

  2. […] the opening band at last Sunday’s Say Anything show at the Chameleon, hails from Lancaster and just released their first EP. With only a handful of shows in their […]

  3. I admire your observational skills. I bought those converse about three weeks ago and have only worn them a couple of times. And the first time I put them on it thought “Damn they are bright!” I guess I’m not the only one that thinks that!:)
    Bassist for Vacations

  4. The wife noticed first. Great set, hope you guys take off!

  5. Thanks! We appreciate the kind words man! Hope to cya again!

    Sean Hillard

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: