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All words: Bryan Patton — All photos: Kevin Hulse

There was an air of anticipation Thursday night at Black Cat. Philadelphia’s mewithoutYou had just released their new record Ten Stories two days earlier and Thursday’s night show was the first night of the band’s Ten Stories tour.

Winnipeg’s Imaginary Cities kicked off the night. Always get to a show early. I know the opening band isn’t the band you’re coming out to see but you never know what you might miss and Imaginary Cities were a band not to be missed. The female front indie rock band took a couple tracks to get going but as the crowd slowly made their way into Black Cat the band found their groove and was energized with each passing song. It was a fun set that even included a cover of Cake’s Mexico. It was a great way to start off the night.

Up next was Philadelphia’s Buried Beds. The band exploded into their set like a gypsy indie version of Jefferson Starship. While it was obvious that the band seemed to be enjoying themselves on stage, it didn’t feel like the crowd was connecting with the band. There were brief moments where it seemed like the audience was getting into it but they were short-lived and fleeting. The band was good but for most of their set it felt like a lull between Imaginary Cities and mewithoutYou.

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The room crowded the stage in anticipation of mwithoutYou, making Black Cat look almost empty. The band set up quietly and getting the nod of approval to start ripped into February 1878. The band was on full blast but the crowd seemed to be holding back, not sure of what to make of the new songs. After Grist For Malady Mill, the band rolled into A Glass Can Only Spill What It Contains. It was obvious why mewithoutYou was the headliner, as their energy and performance trumped everything that happened before they hit the stage. Yet even as the set moved along and the band mixed in older songs with new tracks, there was still this tension in the room, like a balloon about to pop.

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That balloon popped when the band played Silencer off their debut record A to B Life. Everyone in the room, from the band to all those who paid to get in the door, went nuts. It was as if a new life had taken form. Lead vocalist Aaron Weiss’ comment that it had been a while since they played the song. That song seemed to energizes the crowd and in return they gave the band their all for the rest of the set, even as they ripped into another new song, Cardiff Giant. The rest of the nigh was crazy.

As the band walked off stage, people instantly started chanting “One More Song” and the band came out for the encore delivering stellar performances of Torches Together and Allah, Allah, Allah to close out the night.

It was a great night of music and I can’t speak for the band but it was a great kickoff to the tour.

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