mewithoutYou @ Thalia Hall

All good things must come to an end. Not even my favorite band mewithoutYou can escape that fate. At least in this case it’s a very soft goodbye as they open the “Farewell” Tour right here in Chicago at Thalia Hall with openers Tigers Jaw.

Thalia Hall

Originally built in 1892 and modeled after an opera house, Thalia Hall is a unique building housing not only the event hall but a tavern, punch house, and other businesses. This shot was taken after the show which was easier due to less traffic. Read about the building’s history here, it is quite interesting.

I arrived just in time with only minutes to spare before the show started. All seats were general admission aside from some expensive private boxes. I was very fortunate to find a seat in the very back row of the balcony as close to center as you can possibly get. I’m too old and short to be down in the pit, and I won’t be obstructing anyone by taking photos.

Tigers Jaw

A common sight at past shows is another Pennsylvania-based band called Tigers Jaw. I saw them back in 2019 at The House Cafe, and although I don’t have another post to show it I feel like I’ve seen them on other tours (possibly with Circa Survive around 2010, not sure).

Their style is what I’d call emo-indie but it’s hard to call them just one thing. Early 2000’s rock is probably the most accurate, and their sound makes me feel teleported back to that musical era (about the same time I found out about mewithoutYou and Coheed and Cambria). They always have a tight and energetic performance.

mewithoutYou

I mostly tried to enjoy the show without taking too many photos (at least by my standards). Keep in mind these are with my smartphone from 100 feet away – don’t expect to “pixel peep” them and see good quality, but I do find it amazing what these cameras can do compared to the past (Comparison: iPhone 5 in 2014). Setlist can be seen here and in the IG sceenshot down below.

After the final song of the main set, a large “FAREWELL” text overlay appeared on the backdrop. The crowd had great energy and we knew they weren’t done yet so naturally we made some noise until they returned. I took more photos at this point because I knew it was the last time I’d ever get this chance.

This was the only zoomed-in shot that didn’t turn out like a big blurry mess. Smartphones still aren’t magical in low light but are getting pretty good…

I have to say this particular performance was one of the best I’ve ever seen them do. Especially in recent years the Chicago shows were always marred by some other factors: members getting COVID-19, bad soundboard/venue acoustics, etc. This time it went off without a hitch. They killed it.

Video

I wasn’t intending to record any video other than short bursts for an Instagram story. As I was recording the opening song “My Exit, Unfair” it was just so good I had to keep it rolling. So here you go, one song in it’s entirety that I’m hoping doesn’t hit me with a copyright strike. Gives a pretty good approximation of what I saw from my seat and I mean that.

Instagram Screenshots

Here are some images from the band’s Instagram for this particular show. Rickie driving the bus, some cool chalk art at Thalia Hall, a mystery man (spoiler: Dr. Christopher Kleinberg), setlist with some bears, and the final bow. I didn’t get my own photo of the band’s bow because I was clapping and yelling like everyone else but I wish I would have. Oh well

Farewell?

Much more recently (July) it was announced that the final two shows in their hometown of Philadelphia would also be streamed online at Veeps. Even though it won’t be in-person, I’m happy that I will get to see two more times on back-to-back nights. Not sure yet if I will create a blog post for that or not, stay tuned I guess.

Misc. Commentary

I was introduced to the band at Summerfest back in like 2005 by my brother Jon. He was a certifiable band stalker and found a surprising number of obscure bands before they were well-known. After finishing their set for a crowd of maybe 50 people during mid-day, Jon pulled me along to meet “the world’s smelliest singer” and we talked with Aaron Weiss for about 10 minutes. No joke he smelled like a dumpster but is a super nice guy. After that show I was hooked and went to every event that I could. I’m just sad I didn’t start collecting the vinyl/memorabilia until last year, oof.

I don’t have photos for most older shows due to a multitude of reasons, but at least in the early days I can say nobody had a camera phone and just enjoyed the performance to be in the moment. Other reasons I don’t have pictures: bad camera phones, dead memory cards/hard drives, and a few due to ex-friends bailing last minute. You can see all old shows I do have pictures for by clicking here. At least I have the memories, and of course the music itself will continue to live on.

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