Texas Is The Reason played their final ever show at the Electric Ballroom here in London on Sunday. For those in attendance, it was a pretty emotional night. Alex Andrews was there to see one of emo’s (in the traditional sense of the word) cornerstone acts say goodbye for the last time.
6 things we learned watching Texas Is the Reason in London…
1) There’s a buzz about the Electric Ballroom tonight that not even a Sunday evening can dampen. As the sole member of Into It. Over It., Evan Weiss is so thrilled to be joining Texas Is The Reason on their last ever tour, he can barely string a sentence together without a cluster of profanity tumbling out of his mouth. Proving to be a funny and flamboyant performer, Weiss isn’t afraid to open up his voice and let it soar. He’s a gifted guitarist with plenty of tricks up his sleeve, but there are obvious limitations that make the prospect of him returning with a full band later on in the year a much more appealing one.
2) As the room slowly fills up with an eclectic crowd, it’s difficult to predict how tonight’s show will play out. As children of emo’s much-referenced second wave, it’s easy to mock the genre’s bookish tendencies (even Weiss, a self-confessed “wussy emo boy,” lampoons the audience for being full of jaded bedroom-dwellers grumbling into their pint glasses), but when TITR walk on to a recording of ‘Do You Know Who You Are?’ before immediately launching into ‘Back And To The Left’, it’s clear the New Yorkers are capable of playing with blistering energy.
3) Although the band are well-represented by a contingent of fans far too young to have been aware of TITR the first time around (Garrett Klahn’s greying temples are a reminder that), for a large chunk of the audience, tonight is a chance to recapture something from their past. There’s something refreshingly unpretentious about seeing grown men the wrong side of 30 bounce around for an hour with their arms up in their air. As tiresome as reunions often are, there’s not a trace of cynicism about this one at all.
4) Where as their peers may have sought poppier directions or were perhaps more indebted to their spiritual forefathers in Fugazi, it always felt like TITR were an emo band striving to write honest rock songs. Tonight, Klahn and Norm Arenas trade riffs like heavyweight fighters throwing punches at each other. Songs like ‘Blue Boy’ and ‘If It’s Here When We Get Back, It’s Ours’ sound huge. At the other end of the spectrum, the quieter moments, sprinkled with shimmering guitars and patient build-ups are delicate and understated. The way the band transitions between the two modes is seamless.
Watch a fan-shot bootleg of some of Texas Is The Reason’s final ever show in London:
5) While no one in attendance can be grateful for the band calling it a day, there’s no doubting the fact that the event’s finality takes things to a whole new level. At first, Klahn’s inability to articulate himself between songs could be dismissed as surliness, but as the set moves from one song to the next, it’s clear that he’s becoming increasingly choked-up at the prospect of never playing these songs again. When the final chords for ‘Jack With One Eye’ fade out and the band gather to thank the crowd, it all gets a bit too much for Klahn, who can’t hold back the tears anymore.
6) When the band finally stop hugging and leave the stage, the lights come on to reveal pockets of the audience caught in the same act. Not just one or two, but dozens and dozens of people smiling and embracing each other. It sounds ridiculous, but it’s a testament to how much these songs mean to people and in particular, how much it means that the band chose to play them for the last time ever on a Sunday night in London.