“Modern Baseball and I are co-headlining so we flip a coin every night to see who gets to perform last”, explains Evan Weiss of Into. It. Over. It.
Tonight, he lost. So on goes the Chicagoan frontman with ‘Anchor’ from his 2011 debut 52 Weeks. He guides the crowd through his recent life facets with the matured ‘Intersections’ – the socially exhausted ‘Spinning Thread’, the age conscious ‘Spatial Exploration’, the wistfully debauched ‘Favor & Fiction’ to the anxiously optimistic ‘New North-side Air’ (which he reveals was “a song about moving to a new place and trying to quit smoking…which didn’t happen”).
Weiss doesn’t forget the fan-favorites from his beloved Proper, with tracks like ‘Discretions and Depressing People’ and ‘Midnight: Carroll Street’ bringing us back to his pop-punk roots. The set is filled with charismatic anecdotes of his struggles with an unresponsive crowd in Germany due to some language barriers, and ends the note recalling his strong ties with Southampton – a place he finds memorable when he first began and ended his “ridiculously stupid and long” 7-weeks tour in 2010 at the Goblets pub.
While IIOI shows a sense of adulthood as he distances himself from pop-punk, Modern Baseball basks every bit in teenage insularity. The venue is now a full-blown house show somewhere in Philly, full of sarcastic charm, stage-divers and intangible red solo cups. The self-aware guitarist Jake Ewald immediately apologizes for his American flag guitar strap, defending that the gift from fellow guitarist, Brenden Lukens, although lovely, makes him feel like an asshole when playing to a foreign crowd – to which the unbothered Brits respond: “YEAH AMERICUH!”
When a drunk fan persistently tugs onto their clothes after the first song, they are quick to express their discomfort and tell her to “chill the fuck out”, making it clear that they are not, and do not, want to be an idolized boy band. Their frankness comes to life humorously along with their lyrics (“What do you call someone who calls you out on DIY ethics you don’t embody as he drains his dad and mommy’s monthly data plan? An asshole with an iPhone”, from ‘Going to Bed Now’), and Lukens is never afraid of telling his audience to “shut the fuck up” while he’s talking, which never comes off mean-spirited, more or less a sassy friend.
Everything cringey about their social media references, first-world problems and romanticized pizza-Netflix-‘brainstorming tattoos’ spiel all translates anthemically and yet again, hilariously and even endearingly when they shoutout their openers, Tiny Moving Parts, towards the end of their set with hashtag lingo (‘squad’, ‘fam’, ‘2k15’).
Bassist Ian Farmer takes the lead on their impressive cover of The Killers and drummer Sean Huber impulsively takes control of the guitar at the end of ‘Pothole’, ending Ewald’s solo with a blast. They finish their set with ‘Your Graduation’ fittingly as they, and most of the crowd are still students, allowing everyone one last time to shamelessly indulge in their youth.