WASHINGTON, March 26, 2014 – When Evan Weiss of Into It. Over It. is up on stage at DC9, there’s an entire band with him. So why is this such a big deal? That’s because, for all intents and purposes, the word “band” should probably be in quotations because with Weiss, it doesn’t exist as such in a traditional sense.
Into It. Over It. is essentially Weiss’ solo project. It’s an extension of his musical identity, selectively populated by talented musicians who serve to fill in the gaps he can’t occupy on his own. In other words, Weiss has created the entity known as Into It. Over It. as a vehicle that allows him to do his own thing with assistance as required.
Weiss has been in several bands since his high school years and has contributed to or supported a number of others in that time span as well. In turn, these bands have benefited to varying degrees from his creative input. Perhaps not surprisingly, he’s currently in no less than two other bands, both of which he fronts.
It’s easy to see that Weiss has developed into a genuine musical nomad. So trying to find a place to specifically express his own musical voice seems like a fairly logical move at this point in his career. Unlike his previous bands and band associations, Into It. Over It. is very much about Weiss and his personal take on music.
Whatever the case, Weiss was clearly front and center throughout the entire set he and his current ensemble of musicians performed here. This may not exactly be new, given his career trajectory thus far. But it is a clear change in focus for him.
There’s a lot more information available now on the assembly and disassembly of bands, musicians and genres than there used to be a decade or two ago. Lately, it would seem there’s a rise in the number of solo artists assigning themselves bands as something of an illusion for the benefit of audiences, and Weiss’ latest idea is no exception.
When someone like Weiss is playing a rock oriented sound, he wants it to sound like rock and not like an acoustic project, so he has to have a band that can produce this type of sound perform with him to bring off that effect. There have always been bands around that are driven by a single, dynamic, controlling member.
But most of the time, they always felt like actual bands instead and not just a solo project. Weiss is intent on creating a certain type of show and effect here, and has chosen musicians with the skills to back his current vision. In turn, they contribute their already honed skills to his vision, creating benefits for everyone involved in the effort.
Additionally, Into It. Over It. is ultimately not simply a project for Weiss in that the entire ensemble’s output on stage despite everything circling around him, is very much different than what Weiss might actually want when he performs by himself – which he has done in the past with these specific songs. But here, with the band members behind them, these same songs get a different look.
What makes Into It. Over It.’s set a good deal more interesting than the nuts and bolts of its construction is that it’s not all that different from what Weiss actually plays elsewhere. The sound he’s crafted with this band is very much in the style of late ‘90s indie rock/emo, and he’s been in a enough bands now that it almost seems as if he’s employing this current set up to ignite a revival of this vintage style all on his own.
Emo, or at least as it’s recognized today after any number of wildly different variations, is really just pop-punk decorated with slightly sappier lyrics. Yet this doesn’t exactly describe the kind of music Into It. Over It. is into today, and it certainly doesn’t seem to be what Weiss is aiming for at all when he performs.
Instead, this band’s sound is closer to the late ‘90s production of the Get Up Kids and Saves the Day. There are still vague hints of the bite of punk, but the music is played with more emotive, heart-on-the-sleeve songwriter dynamism while the lyrics are more vague than distinctly on the nose.
Into It. Over It. match this altered vibe perfectly. Their set at DC9 found that perfect niche between just enough punk aggressiveness and creativity to avoid feeling sluggish while keeping everything kicked up a notch from straightforward mode.
Each song in the set demonstrated the indisputable quality of Weiss’ songwriting, demonstrating his ability to weave a goodly amount of pop instincts into each of the songs, while crafting enough memorable hooks to enhance the unusual cleverness of the product. As a result, nothing during Into It. Over It.’s set ever feels stale.
It’s easy to see this is the kind of music Weiss grew up with. It’s also easy to feel his eventual dismay as he watched the bands he loved either disappear or quickly move on to something else. He’s become the carrier of the torch a genre that seemed ever-present at one point in indie music but vanished fairly quickly. And it’s clear now that he’s chosen Into It. Over It. as the vehicle to more or less revive the genre.