Circle of Hope
About 7 years ago, my old band was playing a show with The Operation, who shared two members with mewithoutYou. I remember loving them, but thinking mwY was pretty bad. At the time they only had an EP, and Aaron was selling it at the Operation merch table. As I sat and talked with him, I remember mentioning this, and he was really nice about it. Either way, fast forward a few years and I went to see them in Wayne with a mutual friend. Needless to say, I was floored. The musicianship, the intensity, the honesty, and 50 kids screaming "and you'd better be alone!" during the break in "Gentleman" left me speechless. That night I got an unmastered copy of their debut full length [A --> B] Life, and I've been a huge fan every since.
On Friday, Feb 8, mewithoutYou played a memorial show for their good friend Jenni and Josh Bender's father who passed away. In addition to the show, countless artists, musicians, photographers, tattoo artists and others donated things to a benefit raffle. It was a great cause and a great evening. For more info on the benefit, click here.
Andrew, Nicole and I got there pretty late, and actually missed most of papertrigger's set. They sounded pretty good, although something that I'd probably have to be in the mood for. Lots of awkward start/stop rhythms, and multiple instruments. People seemed pretty into them, and in the right mod, I probably could be too.
Right around 9, kids started circling around the stage area, and mewithoutyou got started. Despite sound checking a bit with the intro riff to "Bullet to Binary," the first full song they played was from Brother, Sister and the energy was through the roof. Aaron, Mike, and Greg were bouncing all over the place, and Ricky was absolutely destroying his drums. Their set consisted of songs from Catch For Us The Foxes and Brother, Sister, their most recent full lengths. Needless to say, I was a bit bummed to not hear anything from [A --> B] Life, as were a lot of people there, but overall it was impressive.
They played for about an hour and fifteen minutes, with very few stoppages. Aaron played all three of the "Spider" interludes, as well as two solo covers. Other highlights included Josh Bender singing with them on "Four Word Letter Pt 2," and Aaron's energy on the "let's go down" chorus, raising his acoustic guitar over his head and screaming at the top of his lungs. Throughout the set, they passed out maracas, tambourines and other percussion instruments and really worked to incorporate the crowd. Songs like "O, Porcupine," "Torches Together," and "Tie Me Up, Untie Me" bounced with energy and got people clapping, singing, and dancing along.
Most interesting to watch dance was Ricky, their drummer. As I said above, he was destroying his drums. My brother once said that he should drum on every indie rock record, and I have to agree. He's one of the hardest hitting drummers I've ever watched, but at the same time, he's so crisp and on point with every hit that he makes. His beats are unique and impressive, but he's constantly dancing in his seat and beating the hell out of his drums. Every time I see them, I find myself staring at him for a lot of the set. Considering they have such an engaging frontman in Aaron Weiss, this is saying something.
As expected, they ended with "In a Sweater Poorly Knit" and ended with piano in addition to their two guitars. MewithoutYou is definitely one of the most inspiring bands to watch, and truly cares about what they do, and the causes they support. While I'm not really Christian, it's almost impossible to deny them when they stop their set and tell you to "turn to your neighbor and give them a 'peace be with you' or 'al salam alaikum'." They love what they do and their causes, and even if I don't always agree with them, I respect them for it.
Below are two pretty poor quality cell phone pics, but you get the idea of the closeness and organic feel and set up of the band and crowd.