It isn’t everyday that you get to witness a band that is so committed to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of every single person in their crowds, no matter their race or religion or sexual orientation or gender, but that’s exactly what you get with As It Is. Mid-January the neo-emo band embarked on their North American tour, paying homage to their third studio album The Great Depression. The twenty-nine-date tour took over small, intimate venues that quickly filled with a diverse crowd looking for a way to escape their troubles for just a little while. Admirably, As It Is took care when picking their opening acts, making sure they not only displayed excellent musical talents, but also fell in line and supported a similar message.
Each band on the line-up has paired with a charity or non-profit, meant to provide materials for those who need them, no questions asked. California-native band, Point North, starts their set by explaining there’s only three things they ask of us while they’re on stage: 1. Take care of each other, 2. Help each other, 3. Be kind to each other. Lead singer of the band, Jon Lundin, goes on to explain they’re currently supporting a non-profit called Half-Access. The purpose of Half-Access is to work with owners of live music venues to develop an inclusive space that is accessible to all fans, regardless of physical limitations. Their website provides an entire database of venues that currently provide wheelchair accessible entries and exits, as well as venues that provide warnings for those with any sort of seizure or sensory disorders. There’s chatter among the band on why they wholeheartedly support this organization and how we, as the audience, can help support it.
The most relaxed and laid-back band of the line-up, Hold Close, focuses on a non-profit known as Hope For The Day, whose main aim is to raise awareness and spread the message that suicide is preventable through outreach, education, action, and equipping people with the right tools to be proactive in their communities. HFTD reaches across all fifty US states, twenty-six different countries, and provides communication in seventeen languages. Their website provides resources for those who need the help or for those who want to be part of the action and make a change in how mental-health is dealt with in society. Braxton of Hold Close also briefly discusses drug use and drug overdose before launching into their song “Breath.”
In an interesting change of genre, heavy metal band Sharptooth takes the stage and the initial shock of the audience is noted. Lead singer, Lauren, covers all vocals and spends her time on stage sharing her story and using it to empower the women in their crowds. Majority of the songs on their set discuss the difficult topics of marginalized voices, sexual violence, assault, and abuse. Standing in front of the mostly female crowd, Lauren raises her fist and begins to explain that this show is for survivors and resources from The Art of Survival can be found at their merchandise table. This soon-to-be non-profit provides a wide variety of information and resources pretty much anyone who needs it; LGBTQ+, victims of sexual violence, addicts seeking recovery, those struggling with self-harm or suicidal thoughts, victims of domestic abuse, etc. There’s a promise of protection and anonymity and understanding, “I see you. I hear you. I believe you. I am you.”
As It Is ends the night by thanking all of the bands who stood on stage before them each night, and the fans who continued to show up despite the change in sound and change in the subjects of their lyrics. Along with their repeated sentiment of ending the stigma surrounding mental health and putting an facing toxic masculinity head-on, As It Is has teamed up with A Voice for the Innocent alongside their north american tour. Every night of the tour, a representative from AVFTI has a table set up, providing help and offering anonymous resources for victims of rape and sexual abuse. Prior to tour beginning, As It Is created an exclusive merch item with AVFTI, donating all proceeds to the organization.
The Great Depression is an album that discusses suicide, depression, poor mental health, and toxic masculinity. The tour is one dedicated to creating a safe space for each and every one of us, allowing every audience member to find a home within their crowds. Bands and crew alike, have worked tirelessly to keep toxic people and behaviors from infiltrating the any of the stops. As stated before, it’s a rare occurrence to find musicians so determined and dedicated to giving their fans even a single night of positivity, no matter what they may be facing outside of that venue, and As It Is truly has gone above and beyond anything that was expected of them. These shows were given to the fans and crew, allowing anyone to be a part of even the tiniest aspects of the final product. From guest spots on songs in their set-list, to stage diving and fist bumps, As It Is truly sets an example for how to be a headlining band and how to take care of your people.
The Reaper // The Handwritten Letter // No Way Out // The Great Depression // The Fire, the Dark // Austen // Hey Rachel // Soap // Such Great Heights (The Postal Service cover) // The Question, the Answer // Still Remembering // Cheap Shots & Setbacks // The Truth I’ll Never Tell // The Two Tongues (Screaming Salvation) // The Stigma (Boys Don't Cry) // Dial Tones // The Wounded World