Concerts Concerts Sharing Sweets with mewithoutYou

Sharing Sweets with mewithoutYou

mewithoutYou at Lee's Palace
mewithoutYou
Lee's Palace in Toronto, ON
August 7, 2011

Review by: Chad Hutchings
Photos by: Julie Lavelle

mewithoutYou finally visits Toronto for a night of performing and midnight snacking with 500 friends. 

mewithoutYou

First things first: This review is coming to you extraordinarily late. But, when it comes down to it, Sticky's very attendance was up in the air until moments before mewitoutYou took the stage. Still riding the wave of the Wolfe Island Music Festival, it was pure luck that our battered bodies made it back to the city and up to Bloor Street in time to bleed out our last ounces of energy into that solidly packed crowd. Once we were there and the set took off, though, it was easy to realize that the effort had brought us to what was quite possibly the best show to pass through Lee's Palace this year.

It helps that mewithoutYou has such avid fans. This was one of those shows where everyone knew every word, everyone jumped and danced until their feet were sore, and even those loud and obnoxious conversations at the back of the bar were few and far between. There was even a fan who brought desserts and treats for the band – a band who, in turn, didn't only accept the unusual (and questionable) gifts, but spent a fair chunk of their time thanking her during their set, even sharing the last few cupcakes around with the audience while assuring the baker that they turned out just right (thanks from all of us, Desra).

This is the kind of people mewithoutYou are, it seems. Hailing from one of my favourite cities in North America, the Philadelphia rock group shows a kindness that's surprisingly common in those hailing from the city of brotherly love. Modest and grounded, their sadness over cancelling their last visit was quite sincere, and their apology quite sheepish. And, for the entire set, they never failed to seem genuinely grateful for the chance to perform, a fact that was evident not only in the way they spoke, but also in the delivery of their music. Works like "In A Sweater Poorly Knit" and "The King Beetle On The Coconut Estate" were stunning demonstrations of this fact, delivered with buckets of sweat and efforts swollen with honest passion, doing complete justice to the artistry and intelligence with which the songs were written.

Still, even with the force of the performance, their sound didn't falter, and fears of their stage-work falling short of their recordings dissolved easily and early in the set. Away from the studio magic tricks, horns and accordions found their way into songs like "C-Minor" in a way that made their usually blatant presence nearly indistinguishable from the quilted sound of the pieces. Start to finish, the show was intense and gleaming. Fiery workings of "The Fox, The Crow, And The Cookie" and "Torches Together" came so strongly that I had to remove my earplugs so that I didn't miss a note (the two pieces also sat together as a fantastic show of their ability to cross breadths of sound with no compromise to their performance or their integrity).

Even while worn ragged and aching, the stretch from mewithoutYou's first song to their final encore blew by like a commercial break, and when the house lights came up, I knew this for certain: If this show doesn't end up in my top ten of the year, I must be in for one hell of an autumn.

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