Touring in support of their seventh studio album,

[Untitled], the Philadelphia post-hardcore band mewithoutYou tore through a long and aggressive set at the Teragram Ballroom in Los Angeles on Monday night. Leading with the album’s scorched-earth opener (“9:27a.m., 7/29”), singer Aaron Weiss’ dropped straight into his frantic screaming style. Weiss rants like an novelist who knows he only has a few breaths left in a the midst of a minor-key panic. The crowd loved it. Arms up, singing along while a gentle mosh pit swayed beneath the band.

Due to ignorance, I’d designated mewithoutYou as more melodic post-hardcore than Touche Amore-style screaming and heavy guitars. Monday night, mewithoutYou proved they move effortlessly in and out of both styles, combining the forms into a unique bloom of beauty and aggression. No surprise either that Touche Amore vocalist Jeremy Bolm was upstairs in the VIP area nodding his head with approval throughout the set.

Other highlights throughout the set included the contemplative “Mexican War Streets,” the satisfying crunch of “Julia (or, ‘Holy to the LORD’ on the Bells of Horses),” the punk anthem “Torches Together,” and the stomping “Red Cow.” To end the show, Weiss dove into the crowd as an audience member took advantage of an unused mic on stage and joined him in the singing. The band didn’t even seem to mind, which I think is a decidedly post-punk characteristic. Call it community engagement.

Opener Smidley, the solo project of Foxing frontman Conor Murphy, re-tuned the songs off their self-titled 2017 album to match the energy of mewithoutYou, turning the rock jams into heavy affairs as Murphy chose to scream suspiciously more often than on the record. It was the right choice, the audience was into it, and it was clear that a good portion of us were already familiar with Smidley (and Foxing). At one point, Murphy called LA the “good New York.” From that point forward, both bands really couldn’t mess this up. And they didn’t. Call it whatever you will.

mewithoutYou Set List:

  1. 9:27a.m., 7/29
  2. Red Cow
  3. Seven Sisters
  4. C-Minor
  5. Another Head for Hydra
  6. Winter Solstice
  7. Goodbye, I!
  8. Mexican War Streets
  9. Julia (or, ‘Holy to the LORD’ on the Bells of Horses)
  10. Yellow Spider
  11. A Glass Can Only Spill What It Contains
  12. January 1979
  13. 2,459 Miles
  14. Wendy & Betsy
  15. Grist for the Malady Mill
  16. Flee, Thou Matadors!
  1. My Exit, Unfair
  2. Bethlehem, WV
  3. Torches Together