Concert review: Into It. Over It. and others bring power, passion to Ace of Cups

Andy Downing, Columbus Alive

While most of the bands on the bill at Ace of Cups Tuesday have previously been lauded for penning incisive, impassioned lyrics, the collected musicians didn't skimp on the power, displaying an authority that left eardrums ringing and an assortment of damaged equipment littered in their wake, including one of Sidekicks' guitars and a drum kit belonging to Into It. Over It.

"May we borrow a hi-hat stand?" asked Into It. Over It. singer and guitarist Evan Weiss just two songs into the quartet's set, clearly awed by his bandmates Festivus-worthy Feat of Strength. "I'm not gonna lie; that's the most rock 'n' roll shit I've ever seen."

Closing out the evening, Weiss and Co. favored sharp riffs, full-throttle tempos and penetrating lyrics, constructing watertight guitar jams that offered compelling contrast to the singer's raw, exposed words. Throughout, Weiss wrestled with the concept of aging ("No EQ"), held close to a loved one as life exhibited its gravitational pull ("Anchor") and reflected on the imagined ties between personality and place ("Who You Are ≠ Where You Are"). On "Closing Argument," the narrator expressed shock at finding the right thing to say - "For the first time in a long time I haven't had to search for the words," Weiss sang - but the frontman never shared in this struggle, filling the band's songs with pages of verse that played like text from a thoroughly revealing LiveJournal.

Another Evan - Pinegrove singer and guitarist Evan Stephens Hall - displayed a similar knack in the Jersey four-piece's short opening set, turning out honest, heartfelt songs about the challenges of holding onto old friends, making new ones and navigating the various uncertainties and missteps that come with settling into one's early-to-mid-20s. Where Into It. Over It. favored taut arrangements, however, the Pinegrove mates constructed rickety, roots-tinged landscapes that mirrored the uncertainty in Hall's words.

In between, the local lads in the Sidekicks bashed their way through a fun, fiery set that drew heavily upon last year's excellentRunners in the Nerved World, closing out with Weiss accompanying the group on a riotous cover of the Jim Carroll Band's "People Who Died." The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am Not Afraid to Die, in turn, lived up to its epic name both in terms of sheer manpower (eight musicians crowded the Ace stage) and its sonic approach, building massive, towering soundscapes that, like an outsized big rig, took ample time to reach full speed and felt damn near unstoppable once they did.