Union Transfer held another killer show Feb. 22 featuring five of the best acts from the Philadelphia do-it-yourself music scene that have all been making names for themselves. Headlining the tour is Philadelphia’s own Into It. Over It., featuring Evan Weiss. Weiss first popped up on the scene when he was just 15 with his first project, The Progress. Accompanying Into It. Over It. on tour are The World is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid To Die; and A Great Big Pile of Leaves. Locally known bands Glocca Morra and Hurry opened for the sold-out show.
Gracing the stage first was Hurry, a new local band fronted by Matt Scottoline from Everyone Everywhere. The band’s alternative “dream pop” punk sound has been making waves around the Philadelphia scene. Their set was solid but short. Matt’s commentary between songs was comedic, as he tried to advertise for their merchandise, specifically a t-shirt that says “I saw Hurry open for a band I like,” which left the crowd in smiles, chuckling at Matt’s jokes. When their set was over, plenty of people were raving about the set and the shirt.
Local band Glocca Morra was up next. Not too long ago they might have been playing in the tightly-packed basement of a house show and now they were about to perform for a sold-out Union Transfer show. Glocca Morra quickly riled up the audience, playing energetic indie punk music and not leaving much time between songs to talk to the audience. The crowd responded immediately to their lively energy, jumping, dancing and singing along to every lyric. Both the band and the crowd were sweaty by the end of the set, and the performance surpassed all expectations.
Fan favorites and Brooklyn natives, A Great Big Pile of Leaves, played an extraordinary set. They played singles like “Alligator Bop” from their 2010 album “Have You Seen My Prefrontal Cortex?” The whole crowd sang along with the band to hits like “Snack Attack,” “Pet Mouse” and “Flying Fish” from their newest album “You’re Always on My Mind.” A Great Big Pile of Leaves member Matthew Fazzi would later come back on stage to play keyboard for Evan Weiss during the flawless Into It. Over It. set. After these three impressive performances, it was hard to imagine there were two more lined up.
The much anticipated set from The World is a Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid to Die left the crowd speechless. Making the trip from Connecticut, with stops in Boston and New York before getting to Philadelphia, the indie/post-rock/emo/punk band filled up the stage with its many members, including Tyler Bussey on guitar and vocals and Chris Zizzamia who performed flawless and beautiful spoken-word poetry from their new collaboration. Their set was astounding; touching on a personal level for many in the audience and especially for Zizzamia himself. The band finished their set and left the crowd awestruck.
After such an intense set one would think revving up the crowd again would be a difficult task, but not for Weiss, who only had to calmly say, “I’m Evan Weiss, and this is Into It. Over It.” to get the crowd riled up once again. Weiss spent plenty of time between songs telling stories, explaining lyrics and interacting with the crowd. He explained that he grew up in Cherry Hill, N.J., and had been coming to Philadelphia shows since he was a teenager. He mailed out his first demo CD for his first band, The Progress, and created a relationship with R5 Productions, to whom he dedicated his song “Write It Right.” The rest of the set did a great job of promoting the new album “Intersections,” but fans were excited to hear some older favorites. Throughout the set Weiss made sure to interact with the crowd, conversing with a joyfully married couple on the balcony and singing a song about his beautiful fat cat. Weiss made it clear that Philadelphia was in competition with Boston and New York for the best show on the tour so far. Per usual, the challenge was met and it was clear that Into It. Over It. and the rest of the bands had a blast playing for the roaring Philadelphia crowd.