Philadelphia art rock band mewithoutYou began their 15 year anniversary tour at The Met in Pawtucket Friday Oct. 14, with opening support from Needle Points and Into It. Over it..
Fellow Philadelphia band Needle Points was the first band to take the stage. The glitter and gemstone-clad group immediately captivated the audience with their “psych-boogie” sound, as their Facebook page puts it. The band was met with warm reception and dance moves from the audience. Though their set was short, Needle Points engaged the audience with infectious drum beats, grooving bass lines, and Thin-Lizzy-meets-Rolling-Stones riffs and song structure. Everything about the band was artfully done; from designs painted on the instruments to the merchandise, the band’s art direction was strong and clear and made for a great first impression of the night.
Chicago band Into It. Over It. was next on stage. Band founder Evan Weiss was supposed to be solo for the first few dates of tour, but by a last minute scheduling arrangement, he was able to perform with a full band for the first night of the tour, with a different bass player filling in. The band began their set with a shimmery, vocally led track, which was accompanied by prerecorded synths and chords. Throughout their set, the band incorporated these auxiliary tracks, which were triggered by drummer Josh Sparks on a MIDI pad next to him. Singer and guitarist Weiss made mention of the fact that the band was slightly out of practice for the show, in addition to having someone else playing bass.
“This is the first time in three weeks that we’ve been on stage together,” Weiss said. “Some unprepared m—–f—–s we are!” As they continued their performance of intricate guitar, drum work and delicate melodies, the band experienced some technical difficulties along the way. Weiss’ guitar pedals came unplugged at the very end of one of the songs, preventing him from finishing the song properly. They jokingly assured the audience that this was “all part of the show” as they fixed the problem and finished up their set a short time later.
Headliners and 15-year-long industry veterans mewithoutYou took the stage to an extremely enthusiastic audience, who pushed forward to the stage as soon as the band appeared. This is the first full tour that the band has embarked on without longtime bassist Greg Jehanian since his joining in 2004. Jehanian left the band earlier this year to welcome in the birth of a child and focus on his family life more closely. This tour is also the first full tour with Dominic Angelella on bass, who was introduced at the show as the band’s new bassist.
In celebration of the band’s 15 year anniversary, mewithoutYou played songs from each of their 6 albums, and will be doing so throughout the tour. This setlist included songs that they have not performed in more than 10 years, such as “I Never Said That I Was Brave” off of their debut “[A–>B] Life”, as well as some other cuts from this album, like “Be Still, Child”. The audience was ecstatic to hear these songs from an era of mewithoutYou typically ignored in the live setting. They played a variety of songs from each of the other five albums, including some b-side songs, such as “Chaplecross Towns”. The performance offered something for fans of every mewithoutYou era, as the band has undergone many genre changes and experimental phases over their tenure. The band’s encore consisted of a solo acoustic version of “Allah, Allah, Allah” by singer, lyricist, and multi-instrumentalist Aaron Weiss, followed by “All Circles” off other their 2012 record “Ten Stories”. “All Circles” consists of one lyrical line repeated over and over in rounds, and is typical of the clever writing found in nearly all their songs.
MewithoutYou will be on tour with Into It. Over It. and Needle Points until Nov. 2, following which Needle Points will leave the tour and Yoni Wolf of the band WHY? will join for the remainder of the tour, wrapping up on Nov. 12 in Washington, DC.