Evan Weiss really likes the UK, and this week has most definitely proved that; he’s been ever-so kind to his Into It Over It crowds on a seven-date tour packed with themed sets that, judging from people’s glowing reviews on social media, have gone down a right treat. London especially, were a lucky bunch, with two shows at The Lexington; one entailing full run throughs of ‘Intersections’ and ‘Standards’, another featuring the entirety of ‘Proper’ and strictly pre-2012 work. Us up north have envy pouring out of us, darn those lucky southerners!
With this knowledge, though, it came as little surprise that this crowd upstairs in the iconic Star and Garter were treated to something similar, but more-so a blend of the old and the new.
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Before embarking on his headline set, Weiss had the job of appearing on bass for the tour’s main support act and, by all accounts very good, Tancred as his mission to play with or be in every band ever continues.
A swift turnaround followed, and the Into It Over It set was soon underway. It didn’t take long to realise what the theme of tonight’s show would be and, having already performed a discography spanning set in Manchester in May, the prospect of a full album set dedicated to an album of the year contender was welcomed very early on.
Since there’s not a weak song on ‘Standards’ (see our review for more on that), there was little chance that this set could disappoint – starting softly with a beautiful rendition of ‘Open Casket’, Weiss eased the crowd in with a hushed sing-along before picking up the pace with ‘Closing Argument’ and album’s lead-off single, ‘No EQ’. Whilst ‘Standards’ wasn’t exactly an unknown entity on the band’s previous UK tour, it’s certainly clear that tonight’s show benefits from the record and its lyrics being etched firmly in the fan’s minds. This is particularly the case with a lofty fist-pump inducing tear-through of ‘Vis Major’ – the songs are becoming Into It Over It classics and set highlights for sure.
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The majority of the rest of the ‘Standards’-based part of the set was fresh to the ears of Manchester in a live sense, with songs like the delicate album centrepieces, ‘Your Lasting Image’ and ‘Old Lace and Ivory’, receiving their maiden airings in the city. Others are live staples already and rightfully so – the day that energetic burst of ‘Adult Contempt’ gets old will be a dark day.
Dark days were also the topic of between song interaction; unsurprisingly President-elect Trump briefly took a verbal slating along the way but it was only a short distraction from the focus of the night. It was an evening for celebrating some of the great art that Weiss has given us, and so it was appropriate when he announced that the band would end with all of their songs from the 2009 split with Koji. One for the old-school, the crowd belted the words of tracks like ‘Wicker Park’ and ‘Logan Square’ back at Weiss with the same enthusiasm as they did seven years ago.
There can’t be many acts that are this deep into their careers that would get away with sets devoted to specific albums, but with his Into It Over It work, Weiss has certainly proved himself to be one of the few. Kudos, Evan.