The band sounds just as good as on its albums, a rare feature in the emo-pop punk genres.
Few venues provide the level of ear-destroying sound quality and atmosphere as The Irenic. A small concert venue made out of a renovated church, The Irenic hides away in a residential neighborhood just off the main drag in North Park. The location gives the shows performed there a special intimacy rarely found in venues of larger scale. Therefore, when a band with a big sound visits, its performance is even further amplified. This is exactly what happened at the The World is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die show on October 23. The sextet released “Always Foreign” in September of this year, and this show was one of its last stops on the promotional tour for the album. However, any post-tour fatigue was well hidden as the group made jokes with the audience, turned the amps up to 11, and played an hour-and-a-half-long set full of energy and angst.
Though most widely known for “Harmlessness,” its most major 2015 release, TWIABP’s newest album, “Always Foreign,” is grander and more well-rounded. With the departure of the previous guitarist, the band clearly feels freer to modify and play around with its sound. It is also feeling free to poke a little fun, as “The Future,” the second track, proclaims “Execute the queen!” — a thinly veiled allusion to the departure of former bandmate. “Always Foreign” relies heavily on themes of alienation and loneliness without falling into the bleakness that many emo bands are wont to find. Instead, the band focuses on a more optimistic stance for this album, contrasting the darkness with lighter lyrics like those found in “The Future.”
The opening artist was Rozwell Kid, an indie rock band that manages to stand out from the indie music crowd. It had a great energy with the audience, establishing a running gag having to do with sunglasses and their effect on rockstar personalities. The band’s biggest hit, “Kangaroo Pocket,” was also their biggest hit on the stage. When they started playing the banger, the crowd formed a mosh pit — or the closest thing possible in such a small venue. Their set was short but sweet, leaving everyone in the room clamoring for an encore.
When the headliners took the stage, the room was already hyped up from Rozwell Kid. TWIABP took that energy and ran with it. The frontman, Josh Cyr, wailed his lyrics in the same manner as its recorded work, earning points right away. The band sounds just as good as on its albums, a rare feature in the emo/pop punk genres. When it began to play its current biggest hit, “Marine Tigers,” the energy of the band picked up in concert with the energy in the room. The World is a Beautiful Place imbued its live performance with all the emotion promised by every album in its catalogue thus far. It’s rare that a musician or group of musicians creates music of the quality and sincerity they have and their live performances continue the trend.
Overall, both acts were fantastic. Rozwell Kid played as if it was headlining a major festival. They surprised with a performance that delivered all of the enthusiasm of a rock band and all of the chill of a local indie band. TWIABP showed emotion and vulnerability unlike any other act touring. Each song segued into the next in what felt like a story unwinding — the night started with its slower songs and crescendoed into its most emphatic. The show started off slow and quiet, showcasing the band’s emo roots, and ended on a mix of pop punk and hard rock uniquely their. The band’s sound sets them apart from the rest of their growing genre and makes the group an act to see.
Date: October 23, 2017
Location: The Irenic
Photo Courtesy of Esra Elhendy