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Concert review: Say Anything brings excitement to experienced and novice concert-goers

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An alternative headline for this could be, “I Wish the Assistant Editor Wrote This Review, But She Has Tendonitis and Can’t Type.” That sounds too much like a Fall Out Boy song though and they don’t play here until next week.

Fall Out Boy was the first concert I ever went to, about eight years ago. Say Anything, at Newport Music Hall last night, was Taylor’s first concert.

There’s nothing like your first time.

When we got to the venue around 6:45 p.m., Taylor was worried we had already missed the first opening band. I had to explain that even though doors opened at 6 p.m., that does not mean the show starts in even the next hour. Going to concerts involves a lot of hurrying up and waiting, usually with lots of bouncing excitement.

Taylor was pretty stinking excited.

Opening band Hard Girls played a good, but not too noteworthy, set of alternative punk. If you’d seen bands like Polar Bear Club play before, you’d pretty much seen Hard Girls play.

Cymbals Eat Guitars also played well, although a bit too trancey and reminiscent of something at Bunbury Music Festival for my taste. Leaving the stage, carrying a cymbal and banging it, is a pretty unique end to a set though.

For Modern Baseball and Say Anything’s sets, Taylor and her boyfriend went down into the pit. My 4’8’’ self stayed safe on the sidelines.

I wish this review included what it’s like the first time you’re surrounded by sweaty strangers, what it’s like to have more of those strangers hoisted up above you and colliding into you. I wish this review expressed the feeling of not knowing the band playing, but falling in love with the way the crowd jumps in unison and belts angst-filled lyrics like “Trying hard not to look like I’m trying that hard / Failing miserably at everything, including that.”

To me, it’s familiar like high school yearbooks. To a newbie, it’s exciting like a brand new thriller.

But seeing Max Bemis, lead singer of Say Anything, take the stage is exciting for all.

Bemis is like a father of the alternative punk music scene (He’s also the father of two adorable little girls that I may or may not have seen endless Instagrams of). He received an overwhelmingly warm welcome from the audience that never cooled.

Say Anything opened with “John McClane,” off their latest album, “Hebrews.” The band — including a string quartet special to this tour — surrounded Bemis as he worked the stage and the crowd. Bemis’ own singing was often drowned out by that of the crowd — another universally exciting experience.

“Columbus, you’re f—— killing it,” Bemis told the crowd.

Say Anything accompanied their new songs with some of their older ones, including the bawdy hit, “Wow, I Can Get Sexual Too.”

After that song — which features the chorus, “I called her on the phone and she touched herself … I laughed myself to sleep” — a man from the audience did what any man should do in that situation: he proposed to his girlfriend.

I didn’t get to see Taylor after the show. But I’m going to assume she had a great time seeing her favorite band play inches from her face. I hope she never loses that excitement.

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