While planning a holiday to New York and then Boston, we came across a gig listing for our last night in the States that excited us – Into It. Over It., The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die and A Great Big Pile of Leaves at The Sinclair in nearby Cambridge. We’ve covered the latter two on Spectral Nights and have been enjoying Into It. Over It.’s ‘Intersections’ ever since picking it up during Big Scary Monsters’ annual £3 Bandcamp sale. Being unusually organised, we bought tickets in advance (isn’t the internet a wonderful thing?) and found the venue, in the shadow of Harvard University, very easily. A sold-out and eager crowd formed queues for every band’s merchandise as soon as they were allowed to step foot inside… we’ve haven’t seen so many people clutching vinyl and proudly wearing new T-shirts at a concert for a long time.
The fifth week of a mammoth six-week tour across the country, Massachusetts’ very own Dreamtigers were an addition to the bill for a couple of nights. Their hallucinatory folk-tinged anthems perfectly set the scene for what was to come, with an element of Meursault in their sound and perhaps a nod to Mogwai, as well as a more straightforward and balanced rock sound. Intricately woven together, it soon became apparent this was a very assured band who love to let loose and let their sound rise into the ascendance. Following this, New York’s A Great Big Pile of Leaves took to the stage and smoothly delivered half an hour of their perfect emo-indie pop anthems. The first of the three Topshelf Records bands to take the stage, there was no sign of tour fatigue as they bounced through the best of their brilliant ‘You’re Always On My Mind’, as well as some of the snappier songs from their debut ‘Have You Seen My Prefrontal Cortex?’. A four-piece free from any pretences and who are happy just to let their music do the talking, they have an eye for a good hook and had the whole audience smiling.
The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die were up next and managed to soundcheck in great time considering so many of them were on stage (when they play smaller stages in the UK next month, it’s going to require some Jenga-like precision to fit them all on…), and then went on to deliver a set mixed up of songs from their phenomenal ‘Whenever, If Ever’ album and songs from their future collaborative EP with poet Christopher Zizzamia. Unsurprisingly, the songs took on a life of their own live and the closing ‘Getting Sodas’ brought a good-natured singalong – and crowdsurf – from the audience, who had been moshing throughout. It will be interesting to hear the EP away from the live setting where Chris’ impassioned spoken-word speeches will have even more of a chance to shine. We’d also like to hear more about his theories on Justin Timberlake and Usher…
Evan Weiss came on stage in a dapper blue shirt and introduced himself and his band: ‘Hi I’m Evan and this is Into It. Over It.’ before launching straight into ‘Anchor’. Drawing from his extensive back catalogue, the likes of ‘Heartificial’ (1 minute and 7 seconds of frenzied brilliance) and ‘Augusta, GA’ were included in his opening section before Evan invited A Great Big Pile of Leaves’ Matt Fazzi back on stage to add keys to a bunch of songs from ‘Intersections’. Stopping the set to have a lengthy discussion about a couple in the crowd’s wedding, chatting about his ginormous cat Miles and to let Matt have a moment in the spotlight as he revealed his smooth and sexy warm-up song, you couldn’t help but want Evan to be your new best friend. Clearly a lovely guy who’s worked hard to achieve his success, he also made an impassioned speech about the ‘jerks who are in this industry for the wrong reasons’ and how we need to tell them where to go. Despite this, there was a hugely celebratory feel about the night and long may this continue.