It’s fitting, if not inevitable, that Philadelphia band mewithoutYou is touring with singer-songwriter David Bazan — there’s a certain thread of spirituality that can be traced throughout both their musical careers. While Bazan, an indie-rock pioneer in his own right, retired his Pedro the Lion moniker and now performs sans band, mewithoutYou have always maintained an attitude of inseparable community and self-sustainability. As evidence, they were one of the first bands to adopt the use of a “greasel-powered” engine to their tour van. But mewithoutYou doesn’t draw attention just for their innovative automotive skills. In 2005, mtvU awarded them “Most Original Artist.” From the band’s history of emotionally charged performances and high-strung, sophisticated lyrics, many fans knew it to be a long-deserved recognition. Still, if mewithoutYou and Bazan share a common bond of faith-based origins, last year each arrived at an artistic, fan-dividing evolution. 2009’s It’s All Crazy! It’s All False! It’s All a Dream! It’s Alright found mewithoutYou ditching their post-hardcore inclinations in favor of bright, folkish ditties with messages of childlike innocence. Bazan, on the other hand, makes a strong re-declaration of agnosticism on Curse Your Branches — quite possibly his most personal album to date. So if you’re going to see these two artists on the same stage, why not pick one of the most provocative stages in their careers? Then again, if you don’t have an opinion on the matter, maybe opening Finnish act Rubik is just the safe, level-ground indie pop you need.
You might also check out Jewly Hight's feature on Bazan from back in March. "[F]oremost on most people's minds when they're at a rock 'n' roll show," he says, "is 'Do I look cool?' "