by Matt Kelchner
“So like I said we’re Game of Thrones from HBO,” Evan Weiss, singer/guitarist and mastermind behind Into It. Over It., mentioned a few songs into their headlining set Sunday night at the TLA. Yes, they were going up stiff competition to close out the week, but that did not stop fans from coming out to Weiss’ return to his former stomping grounds. Along for the ride were longtime pals The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, fellow NJ rockers Pinegrove and the greatest rock and roll band (according to Weiss) the Sidekicks.
Despite early door times and hitting the stage first, the South Street venue was far from empty for Pinegrove. A buzz has been building behind the band ever since the release of their impressive sophomore effort, Cardinal. The album dips into twangy, rootsy “alt-country” and draws comparisons to early Wilco and Built to Split. Tracks like the one-two punch of “Old Friends” and “Cadmium” put Cardinal on full display Sunday night. The lone exception was “Recycling”, an older tune that was pulled out. Pinegrove made it clear that the hype surrounding them was by no means an overstatement.
After soundchecking to riffs from “Never Let You Go” and “Iron Man”, the Sidekicks kicked their set off with the first two songs from Runners In The Nerved World, “Hell Is Warm” and “Everything in Twos”. The band has not released anything since last year’s release so their night mainly featured cuts from the album. They managed to add a few older songs like “DMT” as well as a new song titled “Twins Twist”. For their grand finale, Weiss joined the Ohio natives for an energetic (to say the least) rendition of The Jim Carroll Band’s “People Who Died”.
Silhouetted by lights running across the line of instruments behind them, The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die filled the stage for awe-inspiring set. With roots firmly set in post-rock, the band pulls in influences from seemingly any and everywhere. Sunday night focused largely on their highly acclaimed album from 2015, Harmlessness, as well as a pair of 7” singles that were released before and after.
Ranging from a soft whimper to massive, buzzing wall of sound, older tracks like “Heartbeat in the Brain” and “Picture of a Tree that Doesn’t Look Okay” were mixed in with Harmlessness songs that included “We Need More Skulls” and “January 10th, 2014”. Their night ended with brooding chants of “Away with God, away with love” from “Katamari Duquette”. If you haven’t made it out to a The World Is… show yet, do yourself a favor and check out one of the most unique, refreshing acts out there right now.
Evan Weiss grew up across the Delaware River in Cherry Hill, NJ and is not shy about his love for the Philadelphia area. Homecoming shows are always strong showings for Weiss and Into It. Over It. While Sunday night was not a sell out it was by no means a weak outing, both with the band and their fans. Case in point, the now infamous Tyler who Weiss brought on stage during the break in “Upstate Blues”; a fan who was at his sixth show of the tour.
Weiss has amassed a hefty catalogue of songs under his Into It. Over It. moniker. He’s also amassed an almost equally large catalogue in his various other projects as well but Sunday night was Into It. Over It’s time to shine. With Standards only a few weeks old, it should come to no surprise that a number of tracks made their way onto the setlist. “No EQ” and “Adult Contempt” allowed for Joshua David Sparks to show off some of his incredible drumming on the record. “Anesthetic” shared some of the newer territory that Weiss & Co. explore and one of the lead singles, “Closing Argument” helped kick off the show.
As much as Standards was covered at the TLA, Weiss was not shy to pull out older material. Proper and Intersections had almost the same showing throughout the night. “Anchor” (which Weiss came out to play solo as the very first song) and “Pinky Swear” represented 52 Weeks. “Augusta, GA” and “Brenham, TX”, two staples from Twelve Towns also made their way in. “Ravenswood” a rare appearance from the IIOI/KOJI split came with the help from Pinegrove guitarist Josh Marre on slide guitar, as well as forming the Joshua Tree-io with the two Josh’s in Into It. Over It.
The night came to an end much the same way most, if not every, Into It. Over It. show does, with “Midnight: Carroll Street”. Over the years this song keeps growing in energy and emotion as a show closer. Sunday night was no different. With a fading voice and band members drenched in sweat, Evan Weiss gave his former city another reminder that he hasn’t quite forgot about them yet.