Saves The Day @ Hit The Deck, Nottingham, 20/4/14

As you may know, I’m a little obsessed with Saves The Day. But, until, Sunday, I’d never seen them live. The truth is, I think I was scared. I’ve often loved a band and then a desultory live experience has put me off them and I’ve stopped listening to them at all. I really didn’t want that happening with STD as their music is so important to me.

So, it was with equal parts excitement and trepidation that I squeezed as far to the front as I could at a packed Rock City main hall to pop my Saves The Day live cherry.

They were magical.

They started off with newie ‘Remember’ and instantly, we were all seduced. Everything about STD live works. Firstly, there’s the assured grace that musicians have when they really, really know what the fuck they’re doing. On top of that, there’s Conley and his pitch-perfect vocals. He’s probably second only to Ben Gibbard in the way he can make live versions of songs sound better than the recorded tracks.

Saves The Day live are the classic two guitars, bass and drums lineup ~ no backing tracks, no choirs, no redundant synth player noodling away. And within that essential configuration, they give the audience worlds of songs. So deft is Conley’s songwriting and the band’s arrangements that you never stand there, thinking, “Hmm, I’m liking this but it’d be BRILLIANT with a synth rave preset tacked on the end.”

They are perfect. They were perfect. When ‘Anywhere With You’ was followed by ‘Freakish,’ I did, indeed, lose my shit and do proper emo crying, smiling as I was singing as I was crying as I was remembering who that song will always make me think of and how much I miss her.

The whole set, old or new, was loved by the crowd and pretty soon I was ejected from my prime position by kids moshing their tits off. Which is entirely as it should be: I’m an old man, I should be left out for the wolves to gnaw. What does Conley, who’s 34 now, think when he sees all these teens totally in love with his songs? Probably the same as me when I get asked for an autograph by someone who wasn’t even born when ‘Your Woman’ was released: ‘FUCK, I’M OLD.’

After the gig, I spotted Palma doing the merch just by the Rock City doors, totally chilled. I went up, mumbled some bullshit, took the pic above and shook his hand. He was sweet, I was tongue-tied. I’d just seen songs I’ve loved for over a decade come alive before me, I’d heard them a way I never have before.

If you get the chance to see Saves The Day live, don’t be hesitant like I was. Go! You won’t regret it!