Just outside D.C.’s Black Cat Saturday night, a mass of people protested president-elect Donald Trump up 14th and U Street.
Posters reading “Love Trumps Hate” were held high, while chants of “we reject the president- elect” filled the chilly November air in the nation’s capital.
Inside the venue, however, the air was warm: warm from election animosity and the expelling of hot air with the deliverance of every mewithoutYou lyric.
The Philadelphia-based experimental rock group is known for the intricate weaving of spoken-word with heavy metal instrumental, a combination not many—with the exception of their dedicated fanbase—believe to be cohesive.
Celebrating their 15-year anniversary, mewithoutYou has developed a passionate following, one that was evidently present in the dimly lit venue. Vocalist Aaron Weiss’s emphatic narratives were overpowered by his audience’s voices, powerfully reciting each song lyric for lyric, releasing any tension and emotions pent up in their souls.
Fists were raised in the air, heads were banging and bodies were shoving as the five-piece paved the way through their impressive album collection, playing mainly from 2015’s Pale Horses record, but also incorporating tracks from 2006’s Brother, Sister, 2004’s Catch for Us the Foxes, and even their first studio album A to B Life (2002), amongst others.
Pale Horses is the band’s first under the Boston independent label Run For Cover Records, and the level of dynamics present in the 11-track record prove mewithoutYou’s timelessness and musical dexterity.
The crowd responded positively to the intricate heaviness of “Mexican War Streets,” the first verse embodying a near-transcendental gentleness while the midway breakdown set an assertive tone, all before the ringing of a tambourine finished the track.
The energy of the venue was built song by song as the group played through “Paper Hanger,” “I Never Said That I Was Brave,” “Aubergine” and “Fox’s Dream of the Log Flume.” The exciting tension felt from the audience was like an inflated balloon about to pop, releasing with “Red Cow” with Weiss’s deep, screaming vocals evoking moshing from his anxiously awaiting fans.
The dimness of the venue contributed to the tone of the night: adding ambiance to Weiss’s mystic lyrics while infusing even more intensity to his strong vocals when needed. The red lights barely illuminated Weiss and his bandmates, while the audience gratefully basked in their shadow.
Featured Photo Credit: Philadelphia experimental rock five-piece mewithoutYou has been pleasing fans with aggressively thought-provoking lyrics and hard rock sound for 15 years, and brought this energy to the Black Cat Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016. (Jordan Stovka/Bloc Reporter)
Jordan Stovka is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.