The band reflects on 20 years of wrestling with spirituality and faith and making music.
There has never been a Christian band like mewithoutYou. Then again, there’s no such thing as a Christian band, and mewithoutYou doesn’t actually exist.
I mean, yes, there’s a group of men who have been playing music under this name for the last 20 years, who recently announced their intention to disband, and who will play the first two of a hoped-for series of farewell shows this weekend. Both live shows sold out in Philadelphia, their hometown, but are available via livestream on the web.
Ask the band’s singer, Aaron Weiss (whom critics are legally required to refer to as “enigmatic”) what the end of mewithoutYou means to him, and he’ll tell you, “We aren’t breaking up. We never were really a band. That’s not a real thing. We never existed to begin with, and yet we will continue to exist in another respect after our last show has been played.”
To him, “‘2001 to 2020, 21, 22’—it’s all totally arbitrary. To me it feels very artificial,” he said in an interview. “I don’t begrudge anyone if they would like to have a kind of a tombstone to give it a lifespan, but it’s a very arbitrary way of looking at whatever it is that we are.”
mewithoutYou came to prominence in the mid-2000s during what some call the golden age of Tooth and Nail records, the Seattle-based indie record label most closely associated with Christian independent rock for the last thirty years.
At first glance, the band was seemingly peers with other rising stars in the Christian screamo scene, like the bands Emery and Underoath, though its particular brand of fractured post-punk fronted by Weiss’s unhinged, spoken/screamed poetry made …