mewithoutyou, Joan of Arc, and Hurry @ Babylon

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Ev has synesthesia, and they incorporate their sensory experiences into music reviews. Synesthesia is a condition in which the brain links a person’s senses together in a rare manner, prompting unusual sensory responses to stimuli. People with synesthesia, for example, might see a certain color in response to a certain letter of the alphabet. Those who experience synesthesia “hear colors, feel sounds, and taste shapes” in a remarkably consistent fashion.


Hurry, a band from Philadelphia, kicked off the night with their alt-rock chord progressions, sweet banter, and self-deprecating humour. Nu-Metal effects applied to the guitar added a tunnelled sound. The drumming came out light and upbeat despite that songs may have taken a more sombre pop-punk vibe. Those vibes in combination with the bass,  came out sounding like nostalgic summertime soundtracks.

The band’s movement coincided with the emotion that emanated from each song. Hurry held a solid energy and got into every single song they played. They played a fun style that got you moving your feet to the beat. Boyish vocals added to the effect of the carefree aura.

The guitar blended with the bass in a mash of bright oranges and magentas, swirling together. They intertwined into the blues produced by the cymbals, meanwhile, the light green-yellows radiated from the snare and toms.

All in all, Hurry held a repetitive feeling to their songs. Almost generic but also rather emotionally charged while maintaining a certain lightness to their music.

Next up were Joan of Arcfrom Chicago, Illinois. They put on a set that I won’t be able to forget. The very stereotypical “dad” dancing, the off-key and off time singing, and overpowering synths, were just a few things that held their set together. Imagine dry tumblr humour and blend it together with noise and screaming, it’s what you get with this band.

The crowd unfortunately seemed to talk over the performance throughout the set. Credit where credit is due, however, the band put everything they’ve got into their set. The energy is exactly what you wanted to see—not unmatched by any means—however, they were driven by passion.

The drumming was warm, and nearly drowned out the ear-splitting blare of the synth. It solidified the songs and served to hold them in place. Midway through the set, the members of Joan of Arc all gathered around the drum kit and began playing different rhythms on snares and toms. It all synced up and came out as probably the best sounding part of their show. The same could not be said about the vocal stylings, which is unfortunate because Tim has been in bands where his vocals have blown others out of the water in comparison. The very off-key screams about pizza and “fuck” were unsettling. As quickly as they smoothed, they went back into the ragged and near unpleasant off-key notes that made the set hard to enjoy.

Joan of Arc goes places that bands don’t dare, tarnishing any form of reputation and keeping expectations low. They push buttons and certainly make sure you either love or hate them.

Headlining the night were mewithoutyou, a band from Philly. Not having played Ottawa since 2005, they drew in a crowd that belted the lyrics back at them with a vigorous passion.

The raw energy that projected into the performance was remarkable, and they kicked off the night with their song “Torches Together” off of Catch for Us the Foxes which set the crowd into cheers. They powered through older songs before kicking out the new ones which tainted the scenery all sorts of yellows, greens, oranges, and whites.

The poeticism behind the lyrics is prophetic and genius. The ruggedness of the vocals emphasized and strained the importance of the message. Compassion and extravagance found their way into the performance when Aaron Weiss picked up a little kid (I believe his own child) and sang to them onstage. The shouts were painted as greens and the exaggerated hand gestures only added to the artistic quality of the set.

The guitars came from all directions, combining the mellow and warm sound of acoustic and the hard and cold edge of electric overdriven guitars. Much of the sound came through as orange with drawn outlines of whites and light blues flecked the scene. The newer tracks came together throught the oranges, while their older songs were charged with deep blues and purples.

The band brought out an accordion near the end of the set, which added a haunting undertone to their music. It served to transform the soundscape by adding something unique to the electric sounds they played.

The energy was enticing and captivating, incredibly raw and sincere. mewithoutyou find a way to embrace oddities and religious themes whilst spewing them through their alternative sound. Breathtaking and riveting, they tore Ottawa apart after 13 years. 

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