Show Review: The World Is A Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die @ The Sinclair 12.6.15
by Terence Cawley (Biology), published December 17th 2015
photos by McKenna Shuster (Graphic Design)
The Sinclair is a Beautiful Venue and I Am No Longer Afraid to See Two of the Best Bands in Modern Emo. All joking about the headliner’s comically long name aside, this was a phenomenal concert, full of energy, theatrics and, yes, emotion.
Local group People Like You were first up to bat, impressing with a mathy yet dramatic set. The band didn’t shy from flexing their virtuosity, yet whenever the noodly guitar lines and off-kilter drumbeats threatened to get too cerebral, an uplifting trumpet part or vocal harmony would keep things airborne. Brightside followed with a joyous set of buoyant power-pop, aided by members of Foxing and TWIABP filling in for an absent guitarist.
Cambridge was Foxing’s last stop on a six-week tour opening for TWIABP, making the passion and bravura they brought to their performance all the more awe-inspiring. Singer Conor Murphy lunged around with reckless abandon whether he was singing in falsetto or screaming his lungs out, stopping only to blow into his trumpet or use a sampler to make echoes of his cries. The band thrashed itself into a lather behind Murphy all the while, giving the material from Foxing’s excellent new album Dealer muscle without sacrificing its mournful essence. Murphy spoke movingly between songs about his affection for the other bands and the Boston area, and the audience returned his love, especially when Foxing played the highlights from their 2013 debut Albatross, “The Medic” and “Rory.” Foxing closed with a jaw-droppingly intense version of the latter number which ended with Murphy playing trumpet on his back while fans held him aloft and the entire building screamed the song’s pained refrain of unrequited love.
TWIABP’s name neatly epitomizes the collective’s fondness for grandiosity; from their massive nine-person lineup to their equally massive post-rock crescendos, this is a band that’s made a career out of swinging for the rafters. Their latest album Harmlessness outdoes their (still great) 2013 debut full-length Whenever, If Ever in both ambition and sheer force, and when they opened with Harmlessness’s lead single “January 10th, 2014,” the crowd sprung to life, gleefully moshing while shouting lyrics back at the band with fists raised. The energy level never flagged, not even when guitarist Derrick Shanholtzer-Dvorak derailed the show for several minutes with a hilarious drunken stream-of-consciousness spiel during which anyone who yelled song requests was bound to get mocked. Everyone in the band seemed to share this goofy sense of humor, and their stage banter kept spirits light, helping the band’s emotionally heavy songs go down easier.
The downside of having a discography full of long songs which slowly build to epic climaxes is that you can only fit so many of them into one evening. TWIABP still managed to play almost half of Harmlessness, along with two songs from Formlessness, their first EP. Older songs like “Gordon Paul” definitely sounded like the work of a younger group still finding their sound, but the current lineup played these songs with the same vigor as their newer material and the diehard fans loved hearing the deep cuts. The band finished strong with three songs from Whenever, If Ever, saving the best for last with that album’s grand finale, “Getting Sodas.” For the outro, in a gesture which felt indicative of a sincere, touching kinship between the touring bands, members of Foxing and Brightside came onstage to join band and crowd in a life-affirming repetition of the TWIABP mission statement: “The world is a beautiful place, but we have to make it that way/…If you’re afraid to die, then so am I.”