LIVE: Mewithoutyou / The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die @ Tufnell Park Dome, London

By Rob Barbour

The last time Mewithoutyou toured the UK, we still had a Myspace Top 8, Crunkcore was an exciting new movement and Bring Me The Horizon were a metal band. In the years since, the Philadelphia elder statesmen of don’t-call-it-emo have released three albums, while Connecticut’s The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die (the favourite band of by-the-word freelancers everywhere) have had their entire career. That career consisting, at this point, of two albums of beautifully constructed probably-do-call-it-emo.

Co-headline bills are often more feats of pragmatism than logic, though. And so tonight the band whose slightly-older fanbase, having been waiting the best part of a decade to see them, go on before the lesser-known act responsible for the unusually high number of backpacks in attendance. There’s a palpable sense of anticipation in the room tonight, and it only builds throughout Mewithoutyou’s set. Their unbridled enthusiasm is infectious, and along with the wonderful sound in The Dome it buoys even the slower moments.

For the more casual fan, the set is perhaps oddly paced but there’s a sincerity and enthusiasm to the cheers and applause which greets the end of the set that’s lacking at so many other shows, and indicative of a roomful of very satisifed fans whose patience has finally paid off. The energy lifts the room. Which makes the immediate exodus prior to TWIABP’s set even more inauspicious.

Musically, TWIABP are near-perfect. Driven by comically-enthusiastic drummer Steven Buttery, the octet recreate their stunning soundscapes with studio-like levels of precision; all four guitars come through crisp and clear, four-way vocal harmonies weaving around the wall of instrumental melody.

It’s captivating – to listen to. But the band’s problem tonight lies in their apparent desire to be anywhere else but on stage, and with retaining those who’ve stuck around to check out a verbiosely-named band they’ve never heard of. By the time the evening ends, the room’s at half capacity and there’s an undeniable sense of anticlimax in the air. A perfect rendition, then, but barely any performance to speak of.