Arts Desk

Washington, D.C., Does Not Fit Chicago Emo Dude to a T

Chicago-based emo troubadour Evan Thomas Weiss isn't the first person to record a song called "Washington, D.C." In one of the sweetest moments on The Magnetic Fields' 1999 opus 69 Love Songs, Stephin Merritt sang: "It's not the spectacles and pageantry/The thousand things you've got to see/It's just that's where my baby waits for me."

Weiss, who records and performs as Into It. Over It., isn't feeling quite so rosy about our town. In March 2009, his then-band, Damiera, played a gig at DC9 alongside Seattle act Man Without Wax. The show was the first in a string of tour dates the two out-of-town bands were sharing, and it didn't end well. "A dude pulled a knife on one of our friends in the back of our van," Weiss says.

He says there was no logical reason for the confrontation: just a drunken DC9 patron who lost his jacket. "He for sure thought someone in one of the bands had stolen his jacket," Weiss says. So, as the bands were loading gear into the van, the drunken, jacket-less man walked up and threatened the bands. "He was like, 'where's my fucking jacket.'"

The cops were called to the scene, Weiss says, but they didn't do much, except for shine their lights before taking off. So Weiss and his friends had to take care of the situation, he says, by more or less intimidating the aggressor out of their van. "We had to, as a group of people, be like, 'get the fuck out of here.'" "Washington, D.C." reflects the spirit of the evening.

Rather than bury the memory, Weiss made it into something of a souvenir: Earlier this week, he dropped "Washington, D.C." It's a rough-edged pop-punk tune about doing something positive after a bad turn of events.

LISTEN: Into It. Over It. – "Washington, D.C."

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Into It. Over It./Such Gold is out now on No Sleep/Mightier Than Sword.

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