mewithoutYou: Crescent Ballroom, Phoenix, AZ 7/31/12

Nestled discreetly within the skyline of downtown Phoenix, Crescent Ballroom played host to fans of Philadelphia-bred mewithoutYou, who gathered July 31 to reminisce on the mid-2000’s days of the post hardcore scene, and to celebrate the release of Ten Stories, mewithoutYou’s newest venture since their birth in 2004.

Buried Beds surprised show goers unfamiliar with the indie folk pop group with a majorly up-beat, dancey opening set. MewithoutYou fans initially waiting out the show’s openers on Crescent’s patio began to migrate inside as the sweet, albeit surprisingly strong voice of lead vocalist Eliza Jones beckoned over the loudspeakers outside.

The seamless ease with which each Buried Beds member switched between string, brass, percussion and keyboard, instantly persuaded the tapping of toes and swaying of hips – simultaneously proving the capabilities of the quintet as both musicians and performers.

And among the commotion of the subsequent dancing and twirling about that followed Eliza’s first touch to keyboard key, crowd members could be heard questioning one another, “Who IS this? Have you heard them before? I think they’re from Philly too.”

Following Buried Beds, Kevin Devine of Brooklyn, New York, who’s often been spotted touring with the likes of Brand New and Manchester Orchestra over the years, took the tone down a notch with a mellow acoustic set ripe with the poetic lyricism he’s been known for since his major emergence in 2005.

Bodies swayed to the echoing of acoustics against a calm blue lighting as Kevin played an intimate set from albums that ranged in a good mix from 2005’s Make the Clocks Move to the more recent 2011 Between the Concrete and Clouds.

The set became even more varied when Kevin invited Eliza of Buried Beds onto the stage for a sweet, soulful rendition of Sam Cooke’s “Cupid,” and then later ended with Brother’s Blood from 2009’s album of the same title.

In the minutes between Kevin Devine and mewithoutYou, Crescent’s patio swelled with fans quickly dragging their cigarettes as they excitedly chattered about the show.

“MewithoutYou is literally my favorite band in the world,” one fan gushed as his face lit up and a smile spread across his face. “I’ve seen them three times already. My friend here has seen them six times in four different states. Everyone should know mewithoutYou.”

Mixing their signature melodic post hardcore sound with an edgy, folky undertone, the guys of mewithoutYou did not disappoint either new, nor long time fans, whose eager anticipation radiated throughout the venue prior to the set.

The moment vocalist Aaron Weiss began to sing into his mic with a voice so raspy and uniquely his – though vaguely reminiscent of Jeff Mangum’s croon in his time with Neutral Milk Hotel – the crowd became a choir right along with him.

Aaron later confided to fans that he felt it was difficult to go on after both Buried Beds and Kevin Devine, but that “It’s been as close to about as perfect a day as I can imagine.”

MewithoutYou’s set varied even more so. With four albums under their belt already, and the newly released Ten Stories widely acclaimed among fans, the guys provided show goers with nothing but the best from A to B Life, Brother, Sister, It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All a Dream! It’s Alright, and of course, Ten Stories.

After a roar from the crowd and fists pumping in the air for an encore, mewithoutYou appealed to fans who clapped and cheered and belted, “I often wonder if I’ve already died,” during their ending song, Cardiff Giant off of Ten Stories.

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