With its unique timbre and experimental tone, mewithoutYou’s opening song, “Red Cow,” flooded through the entire audience. Heads bobbed and bodies swayed to the infectious rhythm like waves in a hypnotic ocean of harmony. Nearly every person in the crowd moved in unison with the music’s reverberation, even those who attended the show to see other bands.
“I was not expecting mewithoutYou to be so awesome,” said student Kaylee Stephenson, 17. “I actually just came to see Say Anything, but I really liked the other one, too.”
30-year-old Todd Rasmussen was also surprised by the lesser-known band. “I’d heard them before, but I think they’re better live. That’s some trippy music.”MewithoutYou is best known for its experimental qualities that transcend genre. Lead vocalist Aaron Weiss’s spoken-word lyrics paint fantastical narratives that collide with the music’s collage of instruments. The pulse of this near-cacophony permeated through everything at the Summit Music Hall: the haze in the air, the walls of the sticker-coated bathroom, and even the bodies of the audience members. Crawling up from the floor, the bass thumped inside one’s chest like a second heartbeat.
After mewithoutYou finished their set with “January 1979,” excitement built for what was to come next. A roar erupted in the crowd as the lights dropped, signifying the arrival of Say Anything to the stage.One by one, the band members emerged from backstage. Shouts and applause peaked with the entrance of singer Max Bemis; he grabbed the microphone from its stand and cued the start of “Give a Damn.” Built-up energy released in the mosh pit with bodies slamming against each other in a convulsing ring of vitality.
“Throw ‘em up,” Bemis called out—the arms of audience members lifted, revealing black Xs slashed on the backs of hands or orange bands strapped around wrists.
The pulsating lights above and the smell of spilled beer below marked the Summit Music Hall as a unique venue. Its elevated stage allows one to enjoy the stages action from nearly any position. The winding staircases on either side of the venue and the platform upstairs offer even more opportunities for attendees to get a good view.
Say Anything created a fun environment, but mewithoutYou forged a more memorable performance. Its shaking bass lines, echoing guitars, entrancing drums, and gritty vocals melded to form a cadence unlike any other. The infectious melody is unforgettable.
Mason Goodwin, a 23-year-old waiter, has seen mewithoutYou play twice before. “They are always f—in’ great. You can always get into their music and let it, like, just take you.”
Say Anything and mewithoutYou continue their tour with Teen Suicide and Museum Mouth on Thursday, May 5, at the Ready Room in St. Louis, Missouri. “I Don’t Think It Is,” Say Anything’s seventh studio album, is available for purchase in stores and online.