I was pumped for this show a good month before it even happened– as soon as it was announced. Few bands have been making as big of waves in the modern emo scene than empire! empire! (I was a lonely estate) and The World is a Beautiful Place & I am No Longer Afraid to Die, so my excitement was warranted. Teaming up for one show made for the perfect combination, as both bands have a similar style and delivery. It also worked out that empire! empire! is a one man band, thus needing The World is… to fill in for the positions that Kieth Latinen could not possibly play. The result was a seamless transition between the two, and wonderfully played show overall.
Despite the “big” names attached, the real show stealer was a local band called Saintseneca. Hailing from Columbus, the band is a four piece folk group full of mulch-instrumentalists. Without traditional percussion, the bulk of their music is comprised of twangy strings and heartfelt vocals. Each selection was as beautiful and intriguing as the last, with each member swapping out duties ranging from guitar to ukelele. It made for a very dynamic performance, always keeping the crowd on their toes not knowing what to expect next. I had heard of the band, and had even dabbled in a bit of their material. Never did I expect to be so impressed, as they were truly the band of the night. Arrowhead happened to be the little band that could. Borrowing the stuff from The World is…, the Pennsylvanian band barely even made the short trip to Columbus. Thankfully they did, as their passionate set was a welcome change of pace and a nice transition to the last two bands.
empire! empire! played next, and as one would expect, it was a great performance. While it all could have sounded a tad better due to a bit of muddling, Kieth did an awesome job. A lot of the set was from more recent releases, with only one truly “old” bit of material. As someone who isn’t too familiar with the band’s newer stuff, it was awesome to hear some selections for the first time. I didn’t get to experience “It Happened Because You Left,” but the short set was satisfying nonetheless.
Despite having an incredibly limited pool of songs to choose from, a lot of anticipation was surrounding The World is… And after seeing eight people crammed onto a small stage, it was easy to see why. The band employs a very big sound created by a lot of musicians. Cello, guitar, and trumpet were all mixed amongst three to four vocalists. It sounds like it would be a bit messy, but the surprisingly reserved nature made it all come out beautifully. Opening up with “Eyjafjallajokull Dance” was as astounding as one would expect. The closer to their acclaimed EP, Formlessness, it is the biggest and most dramatic of their pieces, and an interesting way to start things off. The last part of the show was disappointingly brief, and despite an amazing performance of “Gordon Paul,” it lacked much closure. All in all however, it was a great show with a lot of passion and energy.
There were a lot of amazing moments and quite a few surprises as well. While as a whole it wasn’t much to write home about, getting to see two of emo’s biggest darlings was a great experience. Even better was getting to find a band that truly put on one hell of show and got the crowd going better than anyone else. If you have a chance to see any of the aforementioned bands, I strongly urge you to take the opportunity.
The World is…-Eyjafjallajokull Dance
Saintseneca-The Worst Days