Concert Review: Merriment, Sherri Dupree-Bemis, Matt Pryor, Perma, And Max Bemis

December 5, 2013: The Shelter, Detroit, Michigan

You would think that Collin and Christie DuPree, aka Merriment, would be nervous just two shows into their tour. It can’t be easy opening up for veteran performers Matt Pryor (The Get Up Kids, The New Amsterdams), their sister, Sherri DuPree-Bemis (Eisley), and Max Bemis (Say Anything). However, the two seemed at ease in front of the crowd that had packed into the Shelter on that cold day in December. The music was simple yet beautiful and fit perfectly in the intimate atmosphere provided by the venue. Christie mentioned that the two felt ill-rehearsed for the tour, but it surely didn’t show in their performance. Definitely going to keep my eye on these guys, they are destined to go far.

Sherri DuPree-Bemis promptly hopped onto stage to perform a couple of Eisley’s songs, immediately admitting that she was a little nervous to be performing solo. Honestly, I was as excited to see her perform as I was to see her husband. Her voice, writing, and musical style  is unique and refreshing among a slew of female pop singers that all sound the same. A great example of this was the song she chose to close her set with,“White Christmas Nightmare”, a wonderfully dark little holiday tune she wrote a couple of years ago.

I’ve followed Matt Pryor’s career since his days in The Get Up Kids, another unique voice and great writing talent. Matt and his crew brought a ton of energy to the stage, being the only act that featured drums, bass, and banjo made it feel more like a rock show than an acoustic set. It was a great mix of new songs along with some old favorites including “Sympathy”, which just happens to be one of my favorites.

Sherri made a joke during her solo set, asking the crowd if they were jealous that she got to hang out with Max Bemis every day. The funny thing about it is that I’m sure a good portion of the audience is. I mean, he writes good music, has great charisma (at least on stage and in interviews that I’ve seen him do), and has even made the leap into writing comic books. To get to the point, he’s a cool dude.

This is why it isn’t surprising that the audience was anxious for him to finally take the stage. Max wasted no time, jumping right into “Shiksa (Girlfriend)”. It was unreal how loud the crowd sang along, which seemed to make Max pretty happy. As Say Anything has a new album coming out, Max chose to showcase some of the older songs that would probably not be played when they tour to promote the new music. The crowd sang as loudly as they could for all the songs and Max seemed to love every minute of it.

Sherri joined Max on stage during the ending of “So Good”, which she is featured on, before the two dove into some songs for their side project, Perma. Their sound is neither completely Say Anything or Eisley but a fantastic mix of what makes these bands so great. The songs tell the story of their love in a fun and catchy way that, in my opinion, could win anyone over especially if they get a chance to see them live.

After Sherri left the stage, Max played a couple more songs including a fantastic cover of Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Got Your Money” with some help from Matt Pryor on tambourine. As always, the night was over too soon leaving the fans counting down the days until the next time Max and his band come into town.