Live Review: Texas Is the Reason, Into It. Over It. and Lemuria – Academy 2, Manchester – 03/08/13

imageUpon this evening in Manchester, a legendary band shall offer up what is left of them to a baying and excitable crowd. Opening the proceedings, indie punk trio Lemuria draw the people toward the stage with their enjoyable pop precision. The group sound utterly fantastic coupled with their erratic energy on stage; they are the finest opening band you could ask for. Playing what is their last show of their UK tour, the band offer out a good mix of classics and cuts from new LP ‘The Distance Is So Big’. The vocal contrast between Alex Kerns’ monotone and Sheena Ozzella’s harmonies provide a decent range. All the while the glimmer shows in old favourites like ‘Bristles and Whiskers’ and ‘Pants’, whilst newbies including ‘Brilliant Dancer’ and ‘Chihuly’ blend well with the band’s brilliant repertoire. It is simply impossible not to smile throughout the band’s set despite the odd hiccup. (3.5/5)

Only one person in the room is surprised to see Into It. Over It. to be the work of one individual; Evan Weiss is his name. Whilst Weiss will return to the UK under this project with a full band in November, this tour has seen him brave it out armed with just an acoustic guitar. Weiss is sincere and utterly charming in his performance tonight. Acoustic renditions of his output are always so intricately done that you wouldn’t want it any other way. A highlight of this is ‘Embracing Facts’, which flows wonderfully in a flurry of melody. Over the past year, Weiss has been recording his second album with Triple Crown Records, due for release in September. He plays one slice of this, and what a taste it has! Throughout his set, there is a sense that Evan Weiss is not a musician on stage but your good friend playing music to you on stage. This bond between crowd and musician is reflected during ‘ Write It Right’, where Weiss encourages the crowd to dance and yell during what he describes as an awkward acoustic solo, yet he pulls it off well. Into It. Over It. aka Evan Weiss is a delightful chap to watch and listen to; we look forward to his return in November! (4/5)

The crowd swallows the room whole, the lights dim down, stage lighting dazzles the speakers, and the melody of ‘Do You Know Who You Are?’ acts as the beginning of the end. As the last note ends, Texas Is the Reason unveil themselves to their audience. For some this is the first time, for others it maybe the second or more, but regardless, this will be the last time, and what an incredible performance it is.

Playing their entire small but wonderful tapestry of songs, the band brings a well-deserved treat for the fans. Each and every song, down to the last note, is played with such passion and youthful energy. This energy transcends onto the audience; a nostalgic power enables the feverous love for Texas Is the Reason to grow and co-exist with the finely sound-checked guitars which are loud, melodic and crisp. The emotional merit of numbers such as ‘Johnny on the Spot’, ‘Dressing Cold’ and ‘There’s No Way I Can Talk Myself out of This One Tonight (The Drinking Song)’ provides something that’s fresh, believable and profoundly compelling.

Forever grateful for the reception they have just received in the last hour, the 90s emo legends pay a resounding tribute to their fans. The wavering and slow power ballad of ‘A Jack With One Eye’ and the string cluttered punk rock epic that is ‘Back And To The Left’ draws this almighty evening to a close. The band bow out and boldly decide to not do an encore. This is how it should be, leave them (the audience) wanting more and they will have no choice but to hold on this wondrous and spectacular memory for a life time. (4.5/5)

4.5/5

Words by Aaron Lohan (@ooran_loohan)

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