The World is a Beautiful Place... @ the Vera Project, 11/15
Great Grandpa, Foxing, Brightside, TTNG, The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die
On the brisk evening of Sunday, November 15th, the Vera Project, Seattle, played host to an impressive lineup of both local and touring bands. The sold-out show featured performances by local up-and-comers Great Grandpa, UK inde-rockers TTNG, Foxing, Brightside, and the dynamically influential The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid to Die.
Local favorites Great Grandpa kicked off the show with a sweetly enchanting, playfully meandering yet consistently impressive performance, a perfect testament to exactly why you should be paying attention to this group now and in the months to come. Their first music video for the apathetic-anthem “Mostly Here” just premiered on Stereogum, and their early-2015 EP Can Opener slated for reissue on vinyl, is now available for pre-order.
After that opening act, the show progressed steadily but with an increasing sense of anticipation. UK-based boys TTNG (formerly This Town Needs Guns) have been carving out their spot in the scene for a solid decade now, and they’ve made the musical progress to prove it. Coupled with the charm and humor of lead singer Henry Tremain that kept the crowd engaged between songs, the tight playing and polished beats were solid evidence of the continued relevance and success of the band. Following up, Foxing and Brightside both fed the momentum of the night with driving sets. It’s always encouraging to witness bands who approach every performance as if it’s the first and last of a tour, and St. Louis-based Foxing certainly exuded that energy. Additionally, after missing their previously-scheduled show in Vancouver due to a passport mishap, Brightside was eager to get back in the groove and played like they meant it.
And before long, it was time for the last band…
The excitement in the room was palpable as the crowd anxiously awaited the headlining act, East Coast emo-revivalists The World is a Beautiful Place…. With the exception of the keyboardist Katie, who left the tour early due to illness, each of the eight current band members took to the now small-seeming stage and began readying themselves and their instruments while the audience slowly squeezed in. The room was abuzz with excited chatter, but when the first chord was struck, the talk stopped and all eyes shifted towards the front. From that note on, TWIABP held the undivided attention of all in attendance. From the beautifully haunting instrumental moments to the soaring, crowd-assisted chants of some of their more anthem-like songs, the performance proved to be an honest, earnest and yet energetic exploration of the bands impressive repertoire.
Now admittedly, I myself have been a huge fan of the band since nearly their 2009 inception, and was giddy with a sort of nervous anticipation that night, this being my first time seeing them live. Upon my initial arrival, after quickly scanning and sizing up the attendees, I was hardly surprised to find that I was seemingly one of the older ones in the crowd. Though the Vera has always felt like a welcome place for absolutely all respectful individuals who want to enjoy a good time and great music, I couldn’t help but feel a self-conscious suspicion that maybe it really was time for me to “move on” from certain things.
See, like most who have their musical roots in the likes of The Promise Ring and Jawbreaker, Cap’n Jazz and Braid, the angsty lyrics now screamed, now whispered in tones of unadulterated rawness, the unapologetic honesty of the sometimes stumbling instrumentals, that all meant something deeply personal to me, and in many ways still does. Yes, that music, those basement shows were a snapshot in time, a still-life of an uncertain and oft unhappy place for me, which I have worked hard to pull myself from in recent years. But there were good times there too. I was young, and I had a couple of friends who felt and thought and worried, just like me, and we found something reassuring and affirming in “emo” music. As we grew older and a lot of friends “grew out of it”, I found something familiar and nostalgic then again in the emo-revival bands like The World is a Beautiful Place….
As I considered all this amongst new, strange, younger faces, my being there somehow began to feel like an unsolicited intrusion. So I kept to myself and took to the balcony where I spent much of the night feebly attempting to get some decent photos (I am not, obviously, our regular photographer). But after the first few songs, as I watched the crowd below move and sway to the music, I knew I could belong again among them, if only for the rest of the night. In my head I said “I’ll enjoy this moment now, I’ll write about it later, and maybe some other day learn to take decent pictures”. I put my camera away and worked my way towards the front and center of the crowd. I closed my eyes and I went back, recalling in that moment an all too apt TWIABP lyric, “So remember when you were young and you will be”. And I did and I was.
Lacey Chastain, 2015