Words by Sam Bass
The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die is an octet originally from Connecticut whose band name fuels the word-count-shy journalist’s dream, but henceforth they’ll be ‘TWIABP’ for some semblance of sanity. They already had a difficult job following on from mewithoutYou on this leg of probably the most emo-sounding co-headlining tour ever. It was made worse when, in front of the visibly depleted yet increasingly audibly chatty crowd crammed into Sound Control’s sizeable annex for mewithoutYou, TWIABP failed to connect with their opening track, stopping within a few bars to tell off the strobe-happy lighting desk in the whiniest manner possible, while singularly failing to acknowledge the crowd who, the most ardent fanboys (intentionally gender singular) aside, were palpably filled with a sense of dulled foreboding from the get go.
TWIABP’s set list was peculiarly sentient considering their relatively heavy catalogue, ‘January 10th, 2014’ from latest album Harmlessness slightly lifting the lull felt ever since mewithoutYou’s enigmatic frontman Aaron Weiss and his fellow Philly band members had punctured through the cold, frustratingly isolated and framed stage with a volley of powerful post-hardcore. The explosive ‘Red Cow‘, sombre ballad ‘East Enders Wife’, Americana firework ‘Elephant in the Dock’, and upbeat pop anthem ‘Cardiff Giant’ were among the most memorable. It was a shame Weiss had to namedrop The Smiths as “one of [his] favourite bands”. It really wasn’t necessary, the crowd were fervent enough. Nor did it come across heartfelt, just like every other time this go-to Manchester point of reference is spouted, seemingly nightly, at live venues citywide.
Unfortunately, no number (and less could be said to be more in TWIABP’s case) of their band members could rouse any stage presence during limply performed, equally limp songs such as ‘Ra Patera Dance’. A particular culprit was lead singer David Bello, with his bizarrely lethargic and insular movements similar to Leonard from The Big Bang Theory’s awkward wilts. Until lead guitarist (if you could call one of four) Derrick Shanholtzer-Dvorak, spouse to keyboardist Katie Lynne, warmed the crowd with some genuinely funny anecdotes just before ‘Rage Against The Dying Of The Light’ finally livened the set halfway through. By then, too many people had left. It was too late.
The show took place on Saturday 13th February, 2016, at Sound Control.