Into It. Over It. – The Bowery Ballroom – February 21, 2014
The beauty of The Bowery Ballroom is the weight of importance assigned to headlining a show there for bands that are staring down success. Each year the venue showcases wildly different stories of artists on the rise, from a soul singer in his 60s to any number of folk or rock bands—or even a young veteran of a scene in the middle of a massive comeback. The latter was fully on display on Friday night, as Evan Weiss and his emo-revival-leading band, Into It. Over It., joined a sold-out crowd in spilling probably a little blood, a bunch of sweat and definitely some tears.
The word emo is about as loaded as can get in music, and it often (and quickly) turns off even the most curious listeners. But if there’s one artist in that scene’s current resurrection that has lasting power and crossover appeal, it’s Weiss. You could pick any song from his arsenal (impressive on his own, he’s unstoppable when it comes to creating new side projects) and boast of how earnest his songwriting is, or how he never settles for a simple rock-chord progression. Basically any song from this band’s two LPs is a highlight, as are any of the deeper tracks Weiss unearths each night. His voice is as clear, recognizable and melodic as Ben Gibbard’s, but Weiss has shown he isn’t afraid to stretch it into grittier yells and bent notes to wring that extra bit of feeling from the hearts in the audience.
Although Weiss hails from Chicago, the night felt eerily similar to New Yorker Kevin Devine’s first headlining Bowery Ballroom show five years ago: The connection each has with his fans is as similar as their purposeful and often intricate songwriting. Appropriately, Devine was in the audience on Friday, and Weiss even took a moment away from the microphone to conduct a cheeky conversation across the venue about ice cream sandwiches and marriage. It was a bit of a non sequitur, sure, but it spoke to one last immutable quality that Weiss possesses. He is by all accounts an extremely likable guy, someone you find yourself passionately rooting for even if you’ve just discovered or listened to him for the very first time. Regardless of whether this emo revival continues a few more years or dies
within a few months, Weiss now has the chance to do this for as long as he wants.
Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com