The storms were just starting to roll in as my boyfriend and I parked in Dinkytown (the part of Minneapolis right by the University of Minnesota) and made our way to the beautiful Varsity Theater. Sure, the threat of severe weather was a bit daunting and absolutely had me thinking of my cats who frankly hate stormy weather but I was not going to miss a chance to say goodbye to a band that has paved the way for so many bands that I listen to today. I was not the only one and although the weather was quickly nearing a fearful stage, the audience at the Varsity kept growing as the opening act took the stage.
The sole opener of the Wednesday night show was Tigers Jaw from Pennsylvania. This is a band that, although I don’t start my day actively looking to listen to them, I typically end up spending at least a few minutes of my day with their music. It’s just so calming to me and reminds me of the bands I used to listen to back in the early 2000s like The Forecast and 1997. I just love the mix of familiarity and freshness that their music has and that was all I needed to keep my mind off of the storm raging on the other side of the walls. Even though I have seen this band before, something about their set on Wednesday just hit a bit harder than previous times. Maybe it was the weather, maybe it was holding my boyfriend’s hand (cheesy, yeah, deal with it), whatever it was, Tigers Jaw’s set just hit me so perfectly.
I was expecting a super quick set from them before they left the stage to make way for the headliner but was pleasantly surprised as they continued playing for nearly forty-five minutes. Their thirteen-song set definitely gave them the time to win people over if audience members were unfamiliar with Tigers Jaw and it also left the people familiar with them feeling satisfied with what they had gotten. Breaking their set only to ask the audience if there was a tornado or something outside (to which the audience responded with cheering), Tigers Jaw utilized every second of their set in a perfect way.
Although Tigers Jaw was great, the anticipation for mewithoutYou to take the stage was palpable. How do you say goodbye to a band that has influenced so many bands after them? Well, it’s not easy but that’s what Wednesday night was- a goodbye to a monumental band for so many people. mewithoutYou has been going strong since 2001 but this is set to be their final tour. This Philadelphia-bred band has truly made waves with their distinct style that mixes rock, punk, post-punk and spoken word to create a sound that has truly defined a generation. I’ll be honest, I never really got into this band when I should have and I don’t know why. Every time I see them live, I’m reminded of their sheer emotional power and talent and swear to start doing a deep dive into their seven-album career but it has honestly never happened. They broke out at a time when I was more into the heavy side of things. My days in the early to mid-2000s were spent trying to find the most extreme bands I could if only to annoy my parents and, because of that, I feel like mewithoutYou just never stood a chance. All of that being said, I will not deny the power this band has on me and so many of their die-hard cult-like following, and being able to see that all play out in front of me one last time was both thrilling and heartbreaking.
Although nothing was going to be enough as far as leaving the show feeling okay with it being the last time you were ever going to see this band (unless you plan to travel to another show during their lengthy Farewell tour), the band did a great job curating their twenty-three song set to cater to everyone in the audience. Whether you had been there since day one of this band or just recently jumped on the mewithoutYou train, there were songs for you. Hell, even if you were like me and just there to pay your respects to this band, there was something for you. I really can not explain the amount of passion that comes off the stage at a mewithoutYou show.
There’s just something so raw and honest about the way that vocalist Aaron Weiss presents his spoken-word-styled vocals and it’s impossible to really comprehend the power of it. Even when standing there watching it all happen right in front of you, it’s something that is so powerful that it’s almost hard to swallow but I mean that in the best way. Watching mewithoutYou will make you feel. Whether you feel hope, sadness, happiness, whatever it is– they will make you feel it throughout their set just with the power of their music and understated presentation. I know I seem to attach more to acts where I can sing along with them and have that visible connection with their words but mewithoutYou has a way of forming that connection with everyone which led to a super-powerful night (even more powerful than the storms raging outside).
When all was said and done and the band had finished the final note of “All Circles”, all of the members took to the front of the stage and bowed. The amount of emotion at that moment for both the band and everyone in attendance was more powerful than my words could ever do justice for. Love the bands you love with all your heart. Go see them, support them, buy their merch, scream their songs– you never know when they may decide to move on and you won’t have those moments anymore.
Thank you for everything mewithoutYou.
Venue- Varsity Theater
Average Age of the Crowd- 36
Crowd Surfers- 0
Mosh-ability- 8 out of 10
Sausage-Fest Meter- 6.7 out of 10
Stage Divers- 0
Amount of Beer Spilled On Me While Walking Around- $0
Broken Bones- None Noticed
Spotted Flying Through The Air- Nothing
Fights- None Noticed
Pukers- None Noticed
Idiots Taken Out By Security- 0
How Many Times I’ve Seen These Bands Before (or at least how many times I can remember)-
Tigers Jaw – 1
mewithoutYou – 7
Celebrity Sightings – None
Overall Score- 9 out of 10
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