Into It. Over It. at 7th St. Entry, 1/23/14
|Photo by Alec Berry|
Into It. Over It.
7th St. Entry, Minneapolis
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Dressed in red flannel, Evan Weiss stopped the show at one point to recall something. "I'm used to playing in some basement for like two guys, and they'd pay me with a nug of weed and half a can of warm PBR," the Into It. Over It. mastermind joked, making sense of the packed room before him. "Now, weed and PBR are still cool, alright, but it's much better to have all of you here versus two dudes." Right then, some guy in the crowd yelled "Show us your dick!" and the sentiment broke. We were present again. Weiss laughed. "You don't want to see that."
Last night's 7th St. Entry stop was the first of Weiss's new tour with two bands with verbiage-rich names. You've got Connecticut's the World is a Beautiful Place, and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, and Brooklyn's A Great Big Pile of Leaves. All, including Weiss, are considered pegs in a new wave of emo revival bands, but the relative energy and innocence present in these still-yet young touring acts sold the bill. Some of the individual members have had their time hashing it out, yeah, but this latest context - as a scene under the eye of a larger conversation - rehydrates everything.
When A Great Big Pile of Leaves opened for The Front Bottoms in Pittsburgh, back in June 2013, their second LP You're Always On My Mind was a week from release, and their demeanor as a live act wasn't fully realized. It was too loose, and the breaks between songs were hinged on a question of whether or not they even knew what came next. That's changed.
They sprang through their set like old pros, knowing the rhythm of it as well as how to keep their audience engaged. Small talk went minimal, excluding dead air almost entirely by phasing from one track to the next, but the body language, facial expressions and posture told you what you wanted of the band's personality. Guitarist Matt Fazzi hugged his guitar, whipping his hair back and forth as he commenced his likable salsa-inspired dance, enjoying the fuck out of his work. Opposite him, bassist Tucker Yaro anchored the stage, staring off into the crowd, giving everyone this stink eye, as if searching a void. A weird juxtaposition of blatant fun and withdraw. I wanted those two to just talk to each other, so I could watch.
The World Is (which I'll write, promptly) played a short set, cut off when guitar and vocalist Derrick Nathaniel Shanholtzer-Dvorak turned to drummer Steven Buttery and made a slashing motion across his neck. "Never eat a plate of french fries and gravy before you do anything," he had said earlier in the set. Maybe that caught up with him.
Every second mattered, though, and not a drop of their atmospheric statement read excessive, which is funny when you consider their name. They played loud - loud enough to leave my ears ringing as I type this - and those levels aided the colorful interludes of soft, harmonic notes and ambiance stitching together their epic builds. What might usually be unnecessary cross-hatching was reckoned with as the volume left no other option. Most impressive, though, with their seven stage members, is every piece of the final mix sounding distinguished. The venue could take credit, sure, but it says something, too, of the band's ability to manage all the mechanisms at work. They know the thing they've made.
The set featured favorites from their latest album Whenever, If Ever. "Gig Life," a taunt, little track, pushed the crowd into singing along while unfamiliar, possibly new songs gave a further look at The World Is's ability to take the tired and stretched hallmark of post-rock instrumentals and make them seem unheard.
Which brings us back to Evan Weiss and his mostly solo project, Into It. Over It. (Though he has a backing band on this tour - Josh, Josh and Tim, former Minneapolis residents.)
It's typical, and makes sense, that a crowd paying and commuting to see a musician - let alone in a -15 wind chill - actually like that musician, but such logic feels like an understatement when trying to describe that crowd last night. The looked more like disciples, hungry for whatever Weiss's beard and red, flannel top were willing to offer. Dedication in droves, padded by the emo imperative.