mewithoutYou’s Final Boston Show

mewithoutYou splash 2022

I can hardly believe the title of this article. It feels like forever ago, and I suppose in a way it was, that mewithoutYou posted that fateful update on their website in October 2019 that started with, “By the end of next year mewithoutYou will no longer be active.” It feels like forever ago that the implications of that sentence set in motion one of the most drawn-out goodbyes the scene has witnessed. Of course, it was never intended to go that way, but, as Robert Burns said, the best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry.

I almost didn’t get tickets to the final Boston show that happened on August 6th. I had been debating – between saving money and going to shows during a pandemic – whether or not it would be a good idea. Of course, as all of you who follow my music journey here know, I have tunnel vision when it comes to tours. There is only one question, and only one answer: “Are you going to the [insert band name here] show?” “Duh.” So, armed with vax card in hand, I drove up to Paradise Rock Club in Boston to bid one of the most interesting, creative, and beloved bands in the scene goodbye.

Opening for this final leg of the tour was WHY?, generally a five-piece band dropped down to a multitasking two piece. From playing the drums with maracas to swapping their bass guitar back and forth, the unique vibes here were perfect to complement the whimsy of mewithoutYou. I had never listened to WHY? Before, and at first I wasn’t sure how I felt, but by the end of their set I was in awe of how talented they were.

mewithoutYou started promptly at 9pm and played a two hour, career-spanning set. They mostly chose songs from 2004’s Catch for Us the Foxes, most likely to compensate for not doing a 10-year celebration for the album in 2024. They opened with the energetic “Torches Together” and it really showed how united of a fanbase they have. It could only be described as Bacchanal. It was great fun, but you couldn’t help but feel a tinge of sadness in the air at the prospect of never doing this again. 

The guys stoped between tracks to briefly thank people who made their 20 year tenure as a band possible: their families, sound tech, and bus driver. It was also touching to see all of their kids there for the whole set, enjoying themselves and singing along side stage. Aaron would often use the instrumental breaks in tracks to check in with the kids, getting down on his knees to their level and sharing a joke. The sense of community and love for what they’ve accomplished together was strong.

After plenty of full band time, the other guys left and Aaron came back on stage to sing some acoustic songs, including the song that introduced me to the band, “The Fox, the Crow, and the Cookie”. They didn’t play that one when I saw them for the first time during the [A→B] Life 10-year tour, and it felt incredible to have that sense of justification and closure in hearing one of my favorite songs during the farewell tour. Halfway through, the rest of the guys joined him for the end with the full band additions, and then they played two more tracks, ending the night officially with “In a Sweater Poorly Knit”.

Even though I’m sad to see mewithoutYou come to an official end, I have faith that this won’t be the last we hear from them. With their level of creativity and just pure joy they clearly get from making music together, I hope the guys will still continue to record and maybe even let us listen in to the next part of their journey. To mewithoutYou I say, “You played the flute / When no one was dancing / You played a sad song / When no one was crying” and made us feel everything in between, and I’ll miss every part of it.

by Nadia Alves

kiel_hauckNadia Alves has been a music enthusiast since she can remember. Going to shows is her main pastime. The other is being upset when she can’t go to shows. This is her first official venture into writing about music. You can follow her on Twitter.

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