Back in November when The Hatchet interviewed Chris Conley, singer and songwriter for the pop-punk band Saves the Day, his band was on the verge of breakout success. Conley himself came across as a meek, soft-spoken introvert, no different than any dorky kid you might pass on the street.
But now, months later, Saves the Day single “At Your Funeral” in is in heavy rotation on rock radio, band members’ faces pop up on magazines and MTV2 almost daily and their performance landed them on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien.” Conley and his band stand somewhat taller than they did a few short months ago – fact made evident with a sold-out 9:30 Club performance Friday night.
The crowd, mostly young girls, packed into the club almost an hour before opening act Small Brown Bike hit the stage. The crowd remained stagnant for the majority of the opening act, but warmed up a little for Piebald, a Boston-based geek rock act.
The crowd was frenetic as Saves the Day took the stage and broke into opening tune “As Your Ghost Takes Flight.” The band played mostly tracks off the hit album Stay What You Are (Vagrant), shying away from earlier work, much to the dismay of the band’s older fans.
Admittedly, Conley is the focal point of Saves the Day. While the rest of the band consists of highly talented musicians, Conley commands the crowd’s attention. At this show, the rest of the band actually came across somewhat jaded and uninterested, perhaps due to the heavy amount of touring lately.
The show’s highlight came when Conley took out his acoustic guitar to perform a few heartfelt emo songs off the band’s acoustic EP I’m Sorry I’m Leaving (Immigrant Sun). It was one of the few times Conley could overcome the hum of the crowd to converse with the audience.
Onstage, Conley is a different person than his quiet and somewhat timid nature in person. He’s not the kind of person you imagine jumping around on stage, singing his heart out. He’s also not the kind of person you imagine hordes of teenage kids idolizing.
But there he stands on stage, looming tall above the sea of show-goers who sing along to his every word and watch his every move. To the fans, Conley is a god. It is humbling to see a short kid with a whiny voice who writes songs about insecurity making such an impact on teenage fans.
Saves the Day ended the set with the popular single “At Your Funeral,” which resonated strongly with both new fans and those who have listened the band for years. The show ended, and the fans stepped into the cold D.C. night, the emotion still ringing in their heads.
This article appeared in the March 4, 2002 issue of the Hatchet.