The Evens

The Evens: live in Philadelphialive in Philadelphia (2006)
Dischord Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5

Contributed by: JohnGentileJohnGentile
(others by this writer | submit your own)

If there's only one man and one woman in music that truly believe what they are saying, than those two people are Ian MacKaye and Amy Farina. On December 6, 2006 the guitar/drums duo the Evens proved just how genuine they are in their belief to a packed house of ageing punkers, trendy hipsters, and .

If there's only one man and one woman in music that truly believe what they are saying, than those two people are Ian MacKaye and Amy Farina. On December 6, 2006 the guitar/drums duo the Evens proved just how genuine they are in their belief to a packed house of ageing punkers, trendy hipsters, and even a few grade schoolers at the First Unitarian Church in Philadelphia.

With emotionally charged music, the question of just how much the band really feels their music when playing it live comes into play when a band plays a string of tour dates. Certainly bands channel their rage, frustration, anger, and joy onto their records, but after playing these songs night after night after night after night, just where does the feeling behind the song end and mechanical motions forged from repetition begin? If we are to use MacKaye and Farina as a template, apparently never. Since the sound of the Evens is the child of sparse music merged with idealistic emotion, truth in playing is what gives their songs life. Were they simply going through the motions, the music would have come off as stilted and forced. However, Farina and Mackaye fluidly drifted into songs, alternatively allowing the harmony of their voices to fill the body of the songs and letting simple notes show the skeletons of the notes. A pause here, a fade-out there, and a hard down stroke-laced together showing that when the duo sing their lyrics, they are feeling the meaning behind their words just as much as the day they recorded them.

Fittingly, songs which used emotion to carry the feeling rather than the rhythm were the stars of the night. When Mackaye sang "Everybody knows you are a liar," The President could almost be seen peeping his head from the side curtains. When Farina used her beautiful alto to mourn that she saw a person "made of plastic ingredients sliced and diced" it was as if a Hollywood superstar was on a dissection table next to her.

To further press how much they believed in the message of their songs, the Evens restricted the set list to just songs from the Evens records, ignoring the massive back catalogue from their former bands (Fugazi, Minor Threat, the Warmers, and about a dozen other super influential bands). The duo's choice to stick to their current material mirrored the messages of both Evens records: What's happening now is what is important. The past is over and there are battles ahead of us, not behind.

Between each song, MacKaye and Farina would banter with the audience that seemed partially ad-libbed and partially pre-scripted, much like late night television talk show hosts. MacKaye related amusing monologues throughout the set with Farina acting as his Paul Shaeffer, bolstering his jokes and extending them. The laid back atmosphere allowed the truthfulness in their songs and statements reach full potential. Without the shiny gloss of a rock concert, or even the machismo of the average punk concert, the audience could hear MacKaye actually speak his mind and ponder the implications, rather than just mindlessly shouting a chorus back in unison. So, the new Ian MacKaye and Amy Farina are here. Laid back, yet in control -- like Leno. Whimsical, yet serious -- like Jon Stewart. Adaptable, yet structured -- like Letterman. Well, if the Evens are the talk show hosts of indie music, then it looks like staying up late just got a lot more attractive.


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (December 30, 2006)

pitchfork is also pompous. and possibly, other adjectives beginning with p.


Anonymous (December 27, 2006)

"The show was amazing, but this review is way too pompus. You dont write for pitchfork."

Pitchfork is pretentious, not pompous.

And as shitty as that site is, their reviewers slay the twerps on PunkNews.org. I just look at this site to laugh at it and goad you fucking twerps. Punk died like, um, 28 years ago?

Suck shit through a tube and die a thousand deaths. I'm 50.

Anonymous (December 27, 2006)

Without Ian Mackaye, I wouldn't have figured out that racism is bad and that war is bad. The man is a prophet who has really opened my eyes to the injustice of the world.

Or is he just a pretentious fuck with a shitty folk act that nobody would care about were it not for the fact that he'd been in one great band (Minor Threat) and a fair to middling one (Fugazi) beforehand.

Oh yeah, and fuck all of you reading this. I'm 50.

Anonymous (December 26, 2006)

just bought a manik skateboard. its a company from seattle. the picture is a live shot of guy during a fugazi show. beautiful image for a skateboard.

Anonymous (December 25, 2006)

The show was amazing, but this review is way too pompus. You dont write for pitchfork.

Deadpan (December 24, 2006)

I'm eternally grateful to Ian and Amy for deciding to play Aberystwyth. Surely the most surreal night of my life - seeing them play in front of 40 people max. Jesus, it was amazing. In West Wales. Dude. Fuck.

Gutted they didn't play the Vowel Movement though. I requested it and everything. They didn't play any Fugazi or Minor Threat then either. I don't think they ever would.

Anonymous (December 23, 2006)

the evens>>minor threat>>fugazi

leezdeez (December 23, 2006)

this band is awesome. it is true, the more they play the more awesome they are. joe lallys solo shit is pretty awesome, too. if you dig on the evens or fugazi bass lines you'd probably vibe on it. but yeah, the way the evens take command of a room is pretty intense.


SilentStorms (December 22, 2006)

Review = pass

theyounginfluential (December 22, 2006)

great GREAT band. ive seen them 10 times and they never dissapoint me.

salsashark (December 22, 2006)

Score is for The Evens.

Surely the classiest live band I've ever seen. They were just so fucking good.

My friend went nutzoid after meeting Ian. He explained how much Ian's music impacted his life, and then Ian said this wonderful quote (which we still reference often): "Don't let the haters get you down."

Anonymous (December 22, 2006)

and ian kinda looks like letterman.

Anonymous (December 22, 2006)

Why the late-nite talk show host comparison? It's a little out there...

Vincent_M (December 22, 2006)

Was at the Philly show, you pretty much hit everything on the head. Kinda cool to see the 7 year olds there who were singing along to every word, and the banter made every thing that much better...all bands should have epic fadeouts. And stormtroopers.

Anonymous (December 22, 2006)

Considering how amazing they were a year ago, I can only imagine their live show is totally jaw-dropping now.

Anonymous (December 22, 2006)

Tour the UK again so I can see you plzkthnx.

joeg (December 22, 2006)

nice review. i saw this in dc last week and what a show they put on. you can tell they're such a tighter unit now both on record and live. having never been around for minor threat and just missing out on fugazi, i could kind of envision what those shows would be like because it was still ian going full throttle and rockin out like nobody's business even though he was part of a 2 piece and playing from a chair.

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