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Live Review: Saves The Day - Electric Ballroom, London (04/26/2011)

It has taken Saves The Day the best part of a decade to make it back to our fair shores, the band last having played in the UK during their halcyon days after the release of 2001’s ‘Stay What You Are’. In the intervening period, they have released three further records, been dropped from a label, ridden countless lineup changes and really experienced the highs and lows that life as a touring musician has to offer.

Tonight’s mammoth 30 song set encompasses the entirety of their career thus far and represents a massive payoff for the fans who have waited so long for them to make the trip. ‘Radio’ and ‘Can’t Stay The Same’, represent 2007’s ‘Under The Boards’, ‘The End’ and ‘Eulogy’ are present from 2006’s ‘Sound The Alarm’, as are ‘Anywhere With You’ and the eponymous title-track of 2003’s disastrously received but fan appreciated ‘In Reverie’.

It is, however, the tracks from ‘Stay What You Are’ and preceding record ‘Through Being Cool’ that are best received; and like it or lump it, the former still represents the high-water-mark of their career thus far. Classics like ‘Cars and Calories’ and ‘Freakish’ sound surprisingly fresh and old favourites ‘Holly Hox And Forget Me Nots’ and ‘Rocks Tonic Juice Magic’ receive the warmest of receptions.

Through it all, frontman Chris Conley looks as if he’s having the time of his life and though the rest of the band mightn’t now bear any resemblance to the early noughties lineup, they are a decent musical unit. By the end, the audience could hardly have asked for more, but the moment everyone has not-so-secretly been waiting for arrives when the opening notes to ‘At Your Funeral’ ring out as a final encore. Predictably, but no less genuinely, the place goes off and the chorus, sung by all in glorious unison, provides a truly memorable moment.

Whilst it is true that, in such a lengthy set, moments of it drag for all but the biggest fans, the band should be applauded for such service (if not for making us wait so long for it.) Whilst a fair proportion of the songs played will have been first-listens for many present, on the night, Saves The Day prove that they are not quite the spent force that many on these shores, perhaps including yours truly, might have imagined. The new material aired sounds promising and, as they left the stage, they promised to be back this year in promoting their forthcoming record. On tonight’s form it would be unwise to write them off just yet.

Nick Worpole

Alter The Press!