The Star and Garter looms ominously over the corner of Fairfield street. Years of industrial decline conceal the face that this was the defining venue for Manchester’s indie glitterati. Everyone from The Smiths to Oasis took their tentative live steps on the small stage here.
For an act that has a back catalogue as vast as Evan Weiss’s Into It. Over It, it’s a somewhat surprising choice of haunt (and it does look haunted!). The weird choice of venue does little to prevent the band from slaying opening tracks ‘Open Casket’ and ‘Closing Argument’. It’s clear that the modest audience are in for a treat. The opening two tracks, also happen to be the opening tracks from this year’s release ‘Standards’, and upon completing ‘Argument’, Evan confirms that we are about to witness a complete album show.
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The quality of the songs on Standards is very high, and this translates very well to the live arena. The band storm through the likes of ‘Vis Major’ and ‘Adult Contempt’ with a swagger and assuredness that only months of dogged touring can provide-the guys are clearly veterans of the road. Conversely, quieter numbers such as ‘Anaesthetic’ are played with a tenderness and emotional honesty that is totally appropriate for proceedings. Playing this record in its entirety was a brilliant, and entirely justified decision.
This makes the decision to close the show with Into It. Over It.’s tracks from their 2010 split EP with Koji all the more puzzling. While the songs from the split are undoubtedly great, they are not among the band’s most well known. Consequently, the crowd aren’t quite as enthusiastic about these tracks, and their participation reduces slightly, but noticeably.
Indeed, with tracks from full lengths ‘Proper’ and ‘Intersections’ completely ignored, the obscure nature of the tracks lead to the show’s conclusion falling a little flat. While this does nothing to detract from the brilliance of the performance of the tracks from ‘Standards’, it’s just a shame that the level couldn’t be maintained for the entirety of the set.
All in all, Into It. Over It. are an extremely tight live act. A better choice of set would have lifted this gig from good, to great.