Concert Review: Matt Pryor, Max Bemis, December 4, Lincoln Hall, Chicago


There are two types of sing-a-longs. There are your standard, run of the mill sing-a-longs, where the singer prompts the audience to sing, but his lips never leave the mic. Then there are trust-fall-sing-a-longs. This is where the singer leaves the mic, cocks his ear towards the audience, and has faith that the crowd knows his song well enough to hold the tune until he returns.

I’ve seen a lot of trust-fall-sing-a-longs crash and burn.

There’s an awkward silence in which the crowd mumbles what they think might (?) be the lyrics while everyone just avidly hopes that the singer will pick the tune back up again so that we can all leave this terrible fiasco behind us and pretend it never happened.

Max Bemis of Say Anything knows how to pull off his trust-fall-sing-a-longs. I cringed every time he left the mic during his acoustic set at Lincoln Hall on Wednesday night, but the audience loved it. They were belting out good portions of his songs without any help from him whatsoever – and they sounded damn good. Bemis was obviously enjoying himself, beaming (sorry I had to), while rocking out as the audience sang, and then picking up the thread of the song (there were some major tongue acrobatics going on during his songs – it was super distracting.)

Bemis was preceded by Matt Pryor of Get Up Kids fame, hailing from Lawrence Kansas. I haven’t seen a performer with good stage banter in a while but Pryor broke the streak. He pretty much spent the entire set making fun of his band mates and himself. Self-deprecating humor is always approved. When his stand up bassist made fun of him for not having a degree, Pryor’s response was “I don’t need a degree – I went to the school of rock. I didn’t realize how stupid that would sound until I said it. ‘That’s right, I went to the school of hard knocks and Vans.’” The best part of the night was when Pryor and his band “hillbilly-ed it up” and busted out a banjo, a harmonica and some good ol’ blue grass tunes.

Posted on by Celeste in Concerts

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