TWIABP and Foxing anchor emo revival

Nov. 18th’s show at the Roxy was a complicated, nuanced picture of emo revival’s age.


Christian Davis/THE CHIMES

Christian Davis, Writer

In a relatively short amount of time, the trajectory of music scenes becomes increasingly observable. The more time one spends within a community of like-minded bands, labels and aesthetics, the easier it is to give this sort of musical movement a context — and inevitably, the easier it becomes to find yourself jaded. Suddenly, the focus of conversation within crowds becomes a contest about how many times you saw the band before this show, how weird it is to see them in a venue bigger than a living room and how their new record will never carry the same magic as that one split from a few years ago.


The World is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die has been at the forefront of my favorite bands for a few years now, and naturally Nov. 18th’s Roxy show was not the first time I had seen them. The problem is, I walked out of that show with a sadness entirely different from the kind I usually leave their shows with. So much of the magic I had experienced with TWIABP felt entirely different the third time around. Granted, synthesizer/vocal contributor Katie Shanholtzer-Dvorak was absent from the lineup, who’s vocals added a needed texture to the band’s live renditions of their latest record’s tracks. Awkwardly mean stage banter and a setlist comprised of extended versions of “Harmlessness” tracks contributed to my post-TWIABP depression as well.


Regardless of my complicated feelings about TWIABP’s headlining set, emo revival co-conspirators Foxing opened with an absolutely legendary show. Touring behind their latest record “Dealer,” the band perfectly recreated the atmospheric, contemplative indie-rock they perfected on “The Albatross.” The same passion I expected TWIABP to convey was something Foxing conveyed with so much integrity and devotion to their craft I could hardly move. Lead singer Conor Murphy switched between intensely screamed vocal lines and essential trumpet riffs flawlessly, and was absolutely enthralling to watch. Foxing is a band that can pull heavily from their latest record and still demand complete and utter silence and reverence from an audience. Arguably everyone in that audience knew every line to “Rory,” but they all stood with such respect for the latest record cuts, the lyrics of which I am sure will be memorized before the next tour.


Even before Foxing took the stage, TTNG played a set heavily weighted with new material, and I could not help but be taken aback by how many TTNG fans existed in Los Angeles. Seriously, I had no idea the Oxford math-rock legends were big in the states at all, but every new track they played was followed with whispers of anticipation for whatever record they put out next. Even Brightside pulled a decent crowd for the Roxy, and the relatively smaller Pittsburg band opened with a captivating ferocity.

Maybe this was meant to be. I am torn between two ideas here. I will never outgrow TWIABP, but maybe this show comes as a sign of a decreased dependence on them. Their 2013 masterpiece “Whenever, If Ever” was something I needed desperately, and even in spite of “Harmlessness’” majestic qualities, I feel like I can enjoy it without the dependence that influenced me before. The world is a beautiful place indeed, but maybe I am in a different part of it now.


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