The Self-Destruction of Saves The Day


UPDATE: On October 26, 2018, Saves the Day released their ninth studio album, titled 9. It’s pretty good.

The Chicago Bears lost their first regular season game this weekend. To be honest, I don’t know anything about football, but it’s a well-known inside joke that, although the Bears haven’t performed very well the last few years, their fan base continues to follow them relentlessly. The same can be said of Saves The Day.

Though most people know the band’s first few albums, their experimentation over the last decade has been met with enthusiasm from fans willing to listen to anything “Chris Conley and friends” create. However, the events of the Chicago Bears Block Party showed that even the most loyal fans have limits, and sometimes a band can damage the goodwill given to them by being obnoxious.

I love Saves The Day. They were one of my first obsessions in music. I’ve seen them almost annually for the last decade. At the Chicago Bears Block Party, they were the headline event with Lucky Boys Confusion (one of my more well known loves) performing immediately before them. Lucky Boys put on a stellar performance, per usual.

Almost from the moment Saves The Day took the stage, Chris Conley seemed off. From the slow build up to the first song (“All-Star Me”), to the point where the band was actually getting booed on stage, Conley was an example of nearly everything musicians are mocked for. Even now, a few days later, I can’t tell if it was the worst show I’ve seen, or the most entertaining. I don’t even know if it was because he was too inebriated or if it was some type of Shia LaBeouf ‘performance art’ horseshit. But I am worried for the future of Saves The Day. And Chris Conley.


Let’s start at the band level. Though the rest of the band played well enough, it seems like they barely played more than 10 songs (including the clusterfuck that was a 10-minute-long session of “A Drag in D Flat”) in a set that was over an hour long. About 20 minutes in, to say that the band looked annoyed would be an understatement. The fact that they continued to play at all, is merit to their professionalism as musicians.

I don’t know what was wrong with Chris Conley in Chicago, or if it is a bigger problem that is plaguing the group. The band actually said at one point that they had “drank all the free beer,” but this appeared to be something more serious. Between the continuous shouts of, “We’re alive! We’re alive!” and the non-stop references to how “crazy the world is and we’re all alive together in the cosmos,” it became far too easy to speculate about Chris’ state of mind.

I would like to say that the low point of Conley’s night was the off-key vocals or stopping to tune his guitar three times, instructing an already pissed crowd to “talk amongst yourselves.” It could have been when he stopped playing music entirely for nearly 10 minutes (I might be exaggerating, but not by much) to talk about how great it is to be alive while the crowd started booing him. Or that during one of his monologues, the crowd actually started chanting “LBC! LBC!” for Lucky Boys Confusion.

But none of that compares to the disastrous performance of “A Drag in D Flat”, a beloved song off of Through Being Cool. Even now, I am not entirely sure that this was the song they were even playing, because I was so focused on how fucked everything was. The band turned a three-minute pop punk anthem into a 10-minute sadness nightmare.

Though Chris seemed like he was about to sing several times, he instead proceeded to turn the song into an extremely long guitar solo and jam session, followed by him looking skywards, seeming to be lost in the continuous verse of guitar riffs from Arun Bali. Then he passed out.

I assume he passed out. I don’t know how else to describe someone toppling over, knocking the mic stand towards the crowd, and laying on the stage for about 30 seconds. The rest of the band continued to play, looking down on him until he returned to the guitar solo while lying on his back. When he got up, he stumbled around the stage and leaned on bassist Rodrigo Palma and Arun for support. This happened for what seemed like minutes at a time. The crowd (at least in my section) alternated between laughing at him and looking around nervously. One woman wondered aloud if “someone should get a medic.”

Chris Conley has always been quirky, which is what gives his music so much charm. Listening to any number of podcasts or interviews he’s been a part of shows that. His music harnesses an innocence interlocked with anger. Conley hasn’t been as angry in his last few recordings, and it’s healthy for artists to change over time, especially if it is towards a happier mentality. But this isn’t healthy, and I’m fucking worried about him.

If this is where Conley is in his life, I don’t know if I want to continue following the band. Everyone has a bad night on stage. Everyone experiments a bit. But there is something darker beneath the surface when a crowd of faithful fans start cheering for another band. At one point, the crowd shouted at the stage, “play a song!” Conley responded with “We can just talk. We’re just people, and we can talk to you.”


Saves The Day never make the same album twice. Conley even announced that this was the last show they were playing before going into the studio to record. I hope he is just worn out and blowing off steam before recording. Because if not, I have no idea how this entire process won’t be an absolute mess.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with a musician wanting to banter with the crowd or give a message during their set. Usually, the music punctuates those statements into something meaningful. This was someone shouting the same nothing sentence over and over.

I don’t know where his mind was or how annoyed his bandmates were. I don’t know if it was an isolated incident or a more common problem. I hope it’s out of his system. I have a new fear that I never expected: that Chris Conley could ruin his own music if he’s approaching his own work like this.

As much as I have given to support this band over the years, I hesitate to say if I will see them live again if this is how they treat their shows. More than anything, I’m worried about Chris. That wasn’t healthy behavior for anyone. I hope he finds whatever he’s looking for and gets help if it’s needed.

by Kyle Schultz

kyle_catKyle Schultz is the Senior Editor at It’s All Dead and has worked as a gaming journalist at Structure Gaming. He lives in Chicago and saw Saves The Day as his first concert ever. He drove three hours to see them, multiple times.


  1. Not as big of a hipster as this lame-o says:

    For someone who claims to know a ton about Saves The Day, you should know that A Drag in D Flat was not on “Through Being Cool”. Way too many inconsistencies in this story to cover them all, but know you did a bad job and you should feel bad.

  2. A Drag in D Flat wasn’t on Through Being Cool.

  3. Doesn’t look like they ever headed into the studio after all. I personally think Chris started losing the plot after In Reverie apparently didn’t perform on the charts the way he expected it to, and instead of following his muse, decided to try to return to pop-punk and ride the Fall Out Boy wave (remember this is like mid ’00s decade), dyed his hair pink and sold ever less. I’m pretty sure the trend has continued since then and they went from a progressive, continually improving headlining band to a washed up opener who makes new material that tries to “capture the essence” of their old shit (aka the death rungs of a creatively bankrupt band).

    Overall, it’s very sad to see what happened to Chris. He let the scene kid complaints about In Reverie get to him, and I think it cost him his career. If he woulda kept going in the Stay What You Are → In Reverie direction, I think the public woulda caught up and he’d have a successful career. Alas, he caved to the so-called fans, and now, well…who knows where he is.

    • I have first-hand knowledge that they did, in fact, head into the studio… they are keeping things under wraps and are going to drop something unexpected this year (I was told this summer). The date will be a surprise.

      As to how good it will be, one can only wonder.

  4. wont judge you for the drag in d flat bit, but i can agree with the sentiment of this blog. wtf even happened to saves the day in general..? i begrudgingly accepted the sharp turn towards the hipster indie sound they dove into beginning in “stay what you are.” but what a train wreck the music has become as a result of chris’ “evolution” as an artist, namely with his vocal key change and musical writing style thereafter.

    i had watched a few recent shows found on youtube wherein they played old album setlists, so i was very excited to revisit the vibe of shows i used to see them at. traveled down to asbury park to see them, and was delivered a terrible setlist, with not 1 single track from “cant slow down.” and chris rocking aviators at night like he some kind of rockstar in his own mind. wtf. im so done with these clowns.

  5. Drag in d flat isn’t off through being cool, it’s off a vagrant comp and later released on ups and downs.

  6. Monica Martinez says:

    I have a really long story of how he (likely drunkenly) berated me, my sister, and two cousins after a show for not being good enough fans. It lasted about 10 minutes. We all stood there in tears, having been avid fans for over a decade hearing our hero angrily yelling at us saying we were what was awful about the music scene/touring was devastating. I will write it all down for posterity. I should have long ago. This was back maybe 7 or 8 years ago. Anyway Arun was really nice before and after this happened and it was him and security for the venue that eventually got Chris to stop yelling at us. We were deer in headlights and then. Then he asked us to take a group picture to try and cheer us up? It was fucking strange and we did it cause we didn’t know what else to do. I can find it and send it to you so you can see how fucking weird it is. I have actively avoided his music and anything related to STD so I didn’t realize this wasn’t an isolated event. Now I’m researching if others have written about him in this way and yours was the first one I found. Please let me know if you know of other credible sources relating to this. I’d like to compile it all and send it to my sister and cousins. To this day the 4 of us are so fucking saddened to have lost the ability to enjoy one of our favorite artists.

    • Wow- that’s ver unfortunate to hear. I’ve only had positive experiences, although Chris has definitely gotten a lot stranger over the years and often isolates himself in the bus before and after the shows. I think it all started around the time of his divorce. I know his drug use has gone up too… you can smell it in the bus and half the time it seems like he’s tripping during shows. Anyway, sorry you had to go through that. Where did this happen?

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