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Into It. Over It./The World Is A Beautiful Place... Concert Review

Into It. Over It./The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die
March 24th, 2016
The Granada - Lawrence, KS

Evan Weiss of Into It. Over It.
Into It. Over It. and The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die (we'll go with IIOI and TWIABP for the rest of this joint) are two American emo bands with long names and adoring fans. Just over two years ago the pair played a show together at the much smaller Jackpot Music Hall down the street. A couple albums and many "emo revival" magazine features later the two were together on tour again and on the larger stage of The Granada this time for an evening of stories, fun, and companionship.

Into It. Over It.
While the two bands share a common genre label, their songs are structured in very different ways. IIOI, the pet project turned full band of Chicago's Evan Weiss play the genre in the more traditional sense of the two. Three-to-four minute rock songs, many with sing-along choruses and pop-punk style chord progressions (although Weiss' more recent albums with IIOI have featured more intricate guitar work and less choruses).

Weiss began the set by thanking the people of Lawrence and explaining his ties to the town (he recorded two albums at Black Lodge Studios in neighboring Eudora and has played in and visited Lawrence multiple times - noting that he got very drunk at the Taproom and visited The Outhouse in one weekend). IIOI played an excellent mix of songs spanning from "52 Weeks" (Weiss' first release under the moniker) to their most recent album "Standards."

Having seen Into It. Over It.  before, twice as a full band and twice as Weiss solo, I knew what to expect and I got it. What was expected? Evan not hitting every note vocally, solid musicianship (drummer Josh Sparks was on point), and continuous friendly and hilarious banter from the band. Don't get me wrong, Weiss is certainly an able singer, some of his parts just don't transfer perfectly from the record to a live setting. His well-executed delivery, intensity, and lyrical ability always make up for that.

The World Is A Beautiful Place...
TWIABP is an eight-piece band from Willimantic, Connecticut. I will often mentally refer to them as an emo orchestra. Their style of emo is quite unorthodox. The band's songs range from ambient, minute-long interludes to dramatic, seven-minute or longer post-rock anthems. Vocalist David Bello can't possibly write lyrics for all that music, so between his impassioned singing parts he will be swaying and staring quite ominously (although he is outdone by Deafheaven's singer in that department).

The large, but not jam-packed audience was treated to songs from the band's debut LP "Whenever, If Ever," a new single, and one or two others. You can only fit so many TWIABP songs into 45 minutes. All four guitarists, the bassist, keyboard player, drummer, and Bello all did a masterful job of recreating the band's recorded work. I feel bad that they have to split their paychecks eight ways! A disheartening moment did come during their set, however, when a man began shouting quite loudly during a lull in one of the band's longer songs, causing multiple upset-looking band members to glare at him until he quieted down.

The Sidekicks
A too-corny-for-me moment also happened as "We Need More Skulls" off the band's new album "Harmlessness" was being played. At one point in the song all eight members shout together, "We set out to make up all the mistakes of our parents and their friends/We set up, we set up a safety net, but it was above our heads." It felt like a pop-punk concert that had the power cut for a few seconds. Not to draw away from the band's impressive performance though; exceptional musicians making good rock music.

Ohio rock band The Sidekicks played a half hour opening set. Started as an EpiFat-type punk band in the mid-2000's, The Sidekicks' music has grown and they increasingly been drawing from more traditional rock influences. Their songwriting and playing was on par, but vocalist Steve Ciolek's sub-par vocals held the band back from really flourishing in moments where the music would have allowed a stronger vocalist to push the songs to a higher level (although he did tell a humorous story about playing a house show in Lawrence years ago and having a man peeing on the floor beside him as he tried to sleep).

Opening band Pinegrove is a New Jersey duo supplemented with a tour bassist and drummer. The group plays an interesting mix of pop-punk and emo-style songwriting with stripped-down roots rock and country influences. Charming pop songs that a teen would love was mixed with bottleneck, slide guitar soloing that a dad would love. Pinegrove recounted a story of their own that summed up the playful mood of the tour; they arrived at the venue to find a "recently deposited" bag of bagels in a nearby dumpster  and took advantage of that opportunity. The Sidekicks during their set spoke on the matter, noting that they had seen a raccoon rummaging through the same dumpster before Pinegrove arrived.

"Welcome to the big leagues, Pinegrove. You have rabies!" proclaimed Ciolek with a laugh.

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