Show Review: You, Me, And Everyone We Know
June 14th, 2010
Harper’s Ferry in Allston, MA
Damn it. The last little scratch-off circle on my first lottery ticket as a legal adult came up with no million-dollar (or any dollar) victories. I looked up at across the table as Ben, the singer from You, Me and Everyone We Know, was polishing off the ticket I bought for him and the band. His ticket would finish with the fate as mine: nada. “I thought I couldn’t lose on my 18th birthday!” I declared. The band’s keyboardist looked up and said, “Hey man, I’ve lost pretty much everything in my life”. Such dark words would end up defining what would become the strangest birthday of my life. But more on that later…
My love affair with the Washington, DC-based band known as You, Me, and Everyone We Know began in late 2008 with the release of their So Young, So Insane EP. I have been, for as long as I can remember, the biggest sucker for ‘50s surfer pop, pop-punk, and anything with synths (the latter thanks to my Dad and his nerdy Styx collection) Upon hearing YM&EWK combine all of the aforementioned sounds into gooey pop perfection on the So Young EP, I knew this band was something different for the stale, neon-pop scene. The band only proved me right as they took the cramped Harper’s Ferry stage and opened with fan staple, “Livin’ Th’ Dream”. On record, singer Ben Liebsch comes off lyrically as a cross between Max Bemis and Pete Wentz, leaving a listener with the image of a quiet man who’s not afraid to go full disclosure into his life, but with bitingly funny sarcasm thrown in. Live, however, the man known as Ben Liebsch becomes the equivalent of Animal from the Muppets in the “stage presence” category, flailing his arms and falling all over the mic. The passion for the music was apparent even by the second song, “Sometimes We Have Too Much Fun”, as Ben pretty much yelled the chorus alongside the crowd. The band as a whole matched their singer with stage presence, jumping into the crowd with tambourines and just jumping around in general at every given opportunity. Before beginning “A Symptom” (with several highly-wasted girls that clawed their way onstage), the band admitted to never playing the song live before, but breezed through the song and set with the ease of seasoned tour veterans. The highlights of the set were “Happy Birthday”, which they dedicated to me (c’mon, that’s too awesome not to brag about), and “I Can Get Back Up Now”, bringing on members of Stay to sing the bridge sung on record by Max Bemis. In the case of most shows I go to, the band that plays before a headlining band usually gets forgotten, but YM&EWK was easily the highlight of the night, winning over the crowd with energy and their tight musicianship.
As the crowds began to disperse and I had Ben and the band sign my ill-fated lottery ticket, I walked to where I parked my car…only to find a completely empty lot. Being extremely close to Boston, images of inner city kids breaking into my beloved Honda Accord and my car totaled somewhere filled my head…I wasn’t even 18 for a full day and life had already made me its bitch. The fate of my car was less worthy of a Grand Theft Auto game though; it had been towed. As I sat waiting for my parents to pick me up and help pay the bill, I couldn’t help but laugh at the keyboardist’s sentiments on losing everything and my current state of car-lessness (I later found out I also lost the signed lottery ticket on the way to the tow shop) But I began to think further into the band I just saw; their song “Bootstraps” does opens with “I wanna be uplifting for a change” and it seemed I needed some positivity. Here was a band that has faced well-documented van troubles and a rocky path to success, but it seems with every low point comes some kind of turn for the better or at least some kind of temporary happiness. For me, getting my car back and getting to bed was enough of a reward. But, with signing to Doghouse and a new album on the horizon amidst all their troubles, You, Me, and Everyone We Know are rapidly becoming the official pop band for all the average Joes out there and, if their live and studio output is any indication, success should be at their fingertips this year.