By Michael Cerio

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Friday night, the band Say Anything played the first of two sold out shows at The Trocadero in Philadelphia. Oscillating between cabaret dance moves and kinetic bursts of emotion, singer Max Bemis led the sea of enthusiasm through a tour of two of their landmark albums.

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On a trek that began last year, the band is commemorating the 10 year anniversary of their record In Defense Of The Genre. The two disc opus is being split between evenings in cities across the country. On night one in Philadelphia it was paired with a complete performance of their breakout album …Is A Real Boy.

Both of those records, as well as their self-titled outing that came later, would help to shape the musical palate of a young Zack Shaw.

“Those were like, larger than life to me” explains Shaw, who listened to Say Anything and others as he began to chase his own musical passion.

Zack is now the lead singer of a band called Backwards Dancer.

Backwards Dancer | Credit: Michael Cerio

After kicking around in some other bands in Massachusetts, the music of Backwards Dancer caught the attention of Say Anything singer Max Bemis, who would help guide the young band and help them secure a record deal.

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Fast forward a few years and now Backwards Dancer is opening for Say Anything on this tour making its way across the country.

“It’s mind-blowing to be in that position of just getting the opportunity to be a young band that really, not many people know but, we’ve been showed so much grace” says Shaw. “I would just write and write and write, and hope that one day that someone would find the music and appreciate it and allow us to do it for real.”

“We were super lucky in the sense that we had a lot of nice press in the beginning of us being a band. We were a band for like three or four months, and then I got an email from Max.”

The sincerity of that writing caught the attention of Bemis, and has captured several other fans since Backwards Dancer put out their own self-titled album in 2017.

Backwards Dancer | Credit: Michael Cerio

As unassuming as Shaw is in person, he howls and aches when he sings. As they filed in Friday night, the crowd grew steady to hear Backwards Dancer open the evening with the same sincerity that caught the ear of Bemis years ago.

Before Backwards Dancer took the stage at The Trocadero on Friday night, we caught up with Zack Shaw over a beer in a Chinatown bar. You can hear that full conversation above, or click here.

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The band returns to The Troc Saturday night for night two with Say Anything in Philadelphia.