Psyko Steve Presents
SAVES THE DAY
REMO DRIVE, MIGHTY
308 N. 2nd Ave.
Phoenix, AZ, 85003
Doors 6:30 PM / Show 7:30 PM
This event is 16 and over
SAVES THE DAY
Saves The Day have been through a lot over the past two decades: Van accidents, member changes, the emo explosion, and the adventures that carried the act and their fans from adolescence to adulthood. But they've never had a proper history of the band... until now. Saves The Day's ninth album 9 tells the story of the band from the perspective of the band's founder Chris Conley and does it in a way that's as exhaustive as it is poetic and makes the listener a part of the songwriting process. From a narrative standpoint, 9 chronicles the epic story of a group of kids from New Jersey who realized their dream and became international sensations. However, on a more existential level, it shows how Conley “woke up” and became aware of his own consciousness through his relationship with music and the unbelievable adventures it inspired since he formed the act in 1997.
“A lot of the memories that I write about in the lyrics for this album I haven't written about because they were too painful or complicated. But for some reason when I was writing, my brain kept coming back to thinking about my entire career from a sense of reflection for the first time,” Conley says of the process of writing the follow-up to 2013's Saves The Day. 9 opens with the upbeat “Saves The Day,” which serves simultaneously as a mission statement and love letter to fans before segueing into “Suzuki,” a song that features the opening line, “On a black and red couch playing a burgundy Les Paul I played on Can’t Slow Down so many years ago, writing album number nine right now.” Then again, this meta sentiment isn't so surprising coming from someone who famously penned lines like, “You want to know who I really am, well so do I” on the song “See You” from the landmark 2001 album, Stay What You Are.
From there the album takes you back to the earliest days of the band's history of playing house shows on the crunchy, riff-driven “Side By Side” and drops you into what it's like to be to on tour with your best friends when all cylinders are firing on the instantly catchy, psychedelica-tinged “Kerouac & Cassady.” Next we move onto the band's unplanned rise to stardom and relentless work ethic on the driving and uplifting rocker, “It's Such A Beautiful World.” “This song is about the Through Being Cool era and things are starting to heat up,” Conley says of the latter track, which sounds like an unholy amalgam between Weezer and glam metal. “At this point we are flying to performances all over the world so in the first stanza I say, 'If we get stuck on a plane, we’re skydiving to the show.' It's such an incredible life to get to live and we were nuts for it and enjoying every second of it.”
Unfortunately with every cataclysmic rise to fame comes the ensuing pitfalls of ego and excess and that's what Conley tackles on “Rosé.” “That song is a bit of a dis track about certain rock star elements that started to be displayed in the band and I was kind of surprised that I wrote about it because it isn't something that I've thought about in a while,” Conley says. The song also sees him approaching the vocals in a way he never has before that unfolds itself more with each subsequent listen and is as ambitious as it is artistic. This is followed up with “1997,” which sees Conley once again reflecting on the band's early days over a distorted bass line and groove that's invitingly relentless and calls to mind an emo version of Van Halen.
Finally, we arrive at “Rendezvous” and how grateful Conley is of the current lineup of the band, which includes the virtuosic trio of guitarist Arun Bali, bassist Rodrigo Palma and drummer Dennis Wilson, who are the band's most consistent lineup to date and take the musicianship on 9 to stratospheric new heights. “At this point, I've actually dealt with the conflicts and the challenges in a lifelong career in music and now I have the guys that I could do this with forever and I'm living the dream again. Life is beautiful, so I intentionally reference the song 'It's Such A Beautiful World' in the lyrics because that song is about when things were going crazy for us and we were all so excited,” Conley says of “Rendezvous” which is layered in distortion-drenched perfection. “We're through all the reflecting and growing at this point, and we're still out here, and we're still doing it so the timeline essentially ends with 'Rendezvous' looking into the future.”
However, it wouldn't be a Saves The Day album without a surprise twist--and in this case it's the album's 21-minute-long climax, “29.” “The final track is seven songs in one and it's the internal personal timeline of my entire life,” Conley explains. “It starts with 'Heartbeat' because I was hypnotized by that sound as a kid and literally it's my first experience of waking up to life itself,” Conley explains. The finale goes on to introduce Conley's love affair with music via “So In Love”; Saves The Day's near fatal van accident in 2000 on “432”; and a difficult rift with a longtime friend on “Tangerine.”
“One of my main artistic passions is the fascination with how you can compose extremely long pieces of music but also hold the attention of the listener,” Conley says – and correspondingly “29” sounds less like prog-rock excess and more like an album unto itself. Subsequently the movement “Victorian & 21st” recounts Conley's meeting with a longtime partner; “Angel” is a tribute to his daughter; and the epic experiment ends with “New Jersey,” which sees him reflecting on his relationship with his parents and his sometimes difficult but always captivating past one last time, culminating with the line, “I know it’ll be all right, we are alive in the world.”
Ultimately 9 is sonic evidence not only that there's a reason we are alive in the world, but it's a miracle that Conley rightfully encourages us to celebrate.
Since releasing their debut album, GREATEST HITS, in 2017 (later re-released in 2018 by Epitaph Records), brothers Erik and Stephen Paulson have been pegged as one of the most captivating acts in the new-era indie rock scene, mixing the musicality of bands like Weezer, Title Fight, and The Police with the idiosyncratic lyrical tendencies of the genre’s more modern movement.
Greatest Hits, along with 2018’s POP MUSIC EP, took the band around the world with the likes of Saves The Day and Hippo Campus. All that time spent on toll roads and tarmacs left the brothers endless opportunities to think about how far their band had come in a short time – as well as plan for the future.
“I spent a lot of time asking questions and looking inward,” Erik says. “It taught me a lot about who I was and who we wanted to be as a band.”
Perhaps most importantly, this time to reflect showed Remo Drive what they didn’t want to do on their follow-up. While Greatest Hits overflowed with wide-eyed nativity and whole-hearted enthusiasm, NATURAL, EVERYDAY DEGRADATION (due out XX on Epitaph) finds the Paulson brothers crafting a sturdier brand of indie-rock.
Produced by Joe Reinhart (Modern Baseball, Hop Along) and mixed by Peter Katis (The National, Interpol), Natural, Everyday Degradation doesn’t burn the Remo Drive playbook – it calibrates it to highlight the band’s true strengths. So Erik’s lyrics are still just as emotionally resonant and universally relatable as they were on Greatest Hits; here, though, they’re far more intentional and precise. Instead of letting off-kilter turns of phrase and nervous energy capture listeners’ ears, Remo Drive allow their confidence to take center stage.
“Our first record was so much fun because it felt like we were breaking out of a box, mostly our local music scene,” Erik says. “But almost as soon as we did that, we started feeling constrained by where we found ourselves. We wanted to keep thinking outside the box and finding our own unique voice.”
Instead of digging back into their more obvious influences for LP2, the band (solely the Paulsons for the first time ever) spent time exploring albums from the likes of The Killers, Arcade Fire, and Bruce Springsteen – timeless artists who do more than just write songs: They tell stories, and this new way of approaching Remo Drive immediately made a mark on the songs the duo wrote.
“If Brandon Flowers actually did the things he wrote about on the first Killers album, he’d be in prison,” Erik laughs. “You don’t have to always write about yourself. You can tap into your emotions and use them to tell stories instead.”
So while the first-person pronouns can’t always be traced back to the band directly this time, Natural, Everyday Degradation still deftly encapsulates the growing pains unrelegated to a specific generation, musing on topics like self-identify, mental health, and a burning desire to prove doubters wrong.
“None of the songs are that wild,” Erik demures, noting the album’s title was in part inspired by Salvador Dalí’s iconic painting “The Persistence of Memory.” Perhaps that’s true, but while Remo Drive circa Greatest Hits found the band looking longingly beyond their suburban Minnesota hometown, Natural, Everyday Degradation is them on the other side, soundtracking the long drives and relentless touring with life’s bigger questions.
“There’s sadness in routine,” Erik says, referencing the song “Around The Sun,” an ode to touring. “Even in the happiest of situations, we’re losing valuable moments or time. All these songs are about some sort of warped existence, but through that, I think we ultimately find we can be whatever we want to be.” XX
“The big joke when we were working on this record was, ‘Oh, this is never coming out,’” muses MIGHTY frontman Angelo Fiaretti. As it turns out, he was right: What you’ll hear on the self-titled debut LP from the Atlanta-based band is definitely not the same album they began working on in 2016 – but MIGHTY isn’t the same band, either.
For the better part of a year, the singer had been laboring over a batch of garage-meets-grunge songs with producer Daniel Gleason (of indie rock band Grouplove) – songs they thought were good enough to comprise the follow-up to 2015’s Bye, Have Nice! EP.
But they instead ended up mining a new emotion, one that served as the impetus for wholesale change and the underpinning of what both the band and album would eventually become. What started as a de facto solo project for Fiaretti in 2012 has now grown to a trio – with bassist Joseph Dempsey and drummer Cameron Latham rounding out the ranks to transform the singer’s musical blueprints into a gripping collection of vulnerable indie-rock.
The feeling that ultimately led them there? Doubt.
Doubt has followed Fiaretti nearly his entire musical life, dating back to his teenage days as a staple in Pittsburgh basements and DIY punk spaces. But instead of pushing those feelings of second-guessing down, he finally let them steer the ship this time around.
So the band scrapped an album’s worth of songs and started from scratch, unafraid to let darkness and doubt creep into the subject matter of MIGHTY’s songs – whether relating to the world at large or even themselves.
That acceptance ultimately broke through in a big way, resulting in songs like the dreamy, anthemic “Drip Drop” and the visceral energy of “Safe And Sound”: songs that showcase both where the band has been and, more importantly, where they are now. They’re standouts in the most confident, brazenly honest MIGHTY material to date – a testament to what can happen when you embrace uncertainty, as unnerving as it can be.
“The whole record is a bit like, ‘Fuck, am I doing this right?’” Fiaretti says. “‘Undertones’ was the song that changed everything. There’s a sense of disappointment there in something or someone you believed in. Having your perception of someone shattered so much ended up moving the record to something where I could talk more openly about the darker aspects of my life.”
Welcoming that darkness helped elevate the songs that originally made up MIGHTY from good enough to exactly the record the band needed to write. It’s an album that closely examines our flaws as humans, throwing an arm around the ugly parts of both ourselves and others. Most importantly, it uses any sense of doubt Fiaretti felt as a catalyst, lighting a fire for raw emotion that gives MIGHTY an undeniable edge among its most memorable alternative rock moments. As individuals and a collective work, the songs are intimately personal yet ultimately universal – all at once a lifeline for those who need a helping hand and a cathartic look back into the singer’s past.
“On stage, my brain takes me back to where I was when I wrote the songs,” Fiaretti says. “It’s really hard to deal with, but it feels really good. I wouldn’t do this if there weren’t some sense of a communal experience and connection with the audience. It’s like therapy.”