Touring in celebration of the 10-Year anniversary of the iconic LP The Things We Think We’re Missing, Balance And Composure stormed through Austin, Texas for the first time since 2016. Alongside MS Paint and Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, the (unexpected and a bit quirky?) tour package had the 2,000 cap Far Out Lounge completely packed. The Texas weather is just starting to become manageable, and this evening was particularly nice, which was good because I had to park a half mile away from the venue due to all the show traffic. Regardless, after a nice hike to the venue and scooping my media credentials, I headed into the enormous outdoor area that makes up the majority of the Far Out Lounge (this venue has an insane history, worth researching…) Running about 30 minutes behind, it was finally time for the show to start.
First up is experimental hardcore/punk/rock band MS Paint from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. I was unfamiliar with this band prior to the show, but absolutely left a fan. Lead by vocalist DeeDee, the 4-piece band is chaotic, loud, and extremely catchy, mainly thanks to DeeDee’s vocal chops and intense pacing across the stage, marked every once in a while with a sudden 5-foot jump into the air or a screech that makes your hair stand up. It was sick. Their entire set was solid and a typically shoegaze-y Austin audience seemed more amped and energetic. I loved the set and jammed them on Spotify on my way home.
Next was Wicca Phase Springs Eternal, aka Adam McIlwee, a solo artist whose songs blend hip hop, emo, and many other subgenres. I last photographed WPSE in May 2019 at Barracuda (RIP!!), a much smaller venue, where he performed on the indoor stage.
Tonight was very, very different. Acknowledging as much, WPSE performed songs ranging all over his discography while thanking the audience and taking a moment to appreciate the sea of people in front of him this time around. The audience sang back the words on every song, and it was clear WPSE was dearly missed in the Texas Capital.
Finally, performing in Austin for the first time since 2016, were Balance and Composure. Hailing from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, the 5-piece alternative/emo rock band brought the house down with their high intensity stage presence and choruses that practically beg to be sung along to. After dealing with a few minutes of unexpected technical difficulties as the set started, they were off and unstoppable.
Opening the set with “Parachutes,” the band kept true to the track order of The Things We Think We’re Missing, which allowed for the audience to fully immerse themselves into the performance, knowing every word in the moment, and every word to come. There was even crowd-surfing!
Trying to work my way through the dense audience, looking for the perfect angle and composition, I noticed people of all ages, some who would’ve been in elementary school when this record came out, some who would’ve already had kids themselves. But everyone knew every song. It was an AH-HA moment of realizing how incredible this album is, and how lucky we all were to witness it live in this moment.
The band sounded amazing, very tight, full of energy and clearly having a blast on stage performing for such a huge and excited crowd. As they wrapped their 15-song set and I started my hike back to the car, I saw nothing but people smiling and laughing, still basking in the show’s fun. Frankly, it was an unexpected if not weird tour package that perfectly suited a weird city. But I was lucky to experience it. The band unofficially stopped touring 2017, so hopefully with such a successful show on the books, it won't be another 7 years before they come back to Austin.