To say THE WORLD IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE & I AM NO LONGER AFRAID TO DIE protrude passion, grace and elegance through verses and choruses crafted to completely juxtapose what has come in the minutes prior would be an understatement. Across six musicians, a sound so atmospheric and arena-esque is created, yet while doing so, tranquility is formulated and an intimate bond develops – currently portraying this across the UK, TWIABP rolled into Newcastle on a miserable Saturday evening. With two local support bands (Weakdaze and Bares) drafted in, presumingly to bump the numbers, AND full tour support Kamikaze Girls, TWIABP were restricted to a sub-hour set – due to this, though, stage talk was minimal and enchanting interludes killed dead air.
These interludes, or Blank pieces, allowed transitions to appear seamless and playing without a setlist (or a visible one, anyway) showed how intuitive the band actually are. With a back catalogue as stunning as they have, plus latest record Always Foreign, it was always going to be unlikely to hear some favourites, but the inclusion of January 10h, 2014 (Harmlessness) was a personal highlight. This, and of course giving passionate interpretations of Always Foreign modern-classics, e.g. Dillon and Her Son and Marine Tigers created a setlist spanning across a discography any band would be envious of.
The crowd size was, for me personally, bittersweet. After waiting for what seems forever to catch them live sub-one hundred (estimate) fellow fans made to trip to the dimly lit Newcastle University Student Union. Because of this it was spacious with no one standing directly in front chatting to their pal about everything and anything – always a massive bonus for an intimate gig – nor was it impossible to see every inch of the stage. However, TWIABP now aware of the tiny crowd size could (hopefully not) make them not return for a long time. Swings and roundabouts in the sense that even if they never come back to the UK I will have witnessed them up close and personal, but it would have been the first and last.
Back to the set, and via Walnut Street is Dead (Long Live Walnut Street) the band conclude with an emotionally charged rendition of Heartbeat in the Brain. After a set that was far too short (Bello chose to play this “slightly longer one” than two short tracks), was the pièce de résistance of what will go down as one of the most impressive performances the north east has ever bore witness to. Almost melting into band-mates, Bello nailed every note and one of their most iconic hits was to be ingrained in Newcastle gig history forever. With a name as memorable as it is forgettable; remember this: granted, life is often grim, especially up north – but The World is a Beautiful Place. Never forget that.