MewithoutYou is scheduled to perform on Friday, June 19.
The Clubhouse Music Venue in Tempe
Lead singer Aaron Weiss wants to set the record straight: MewithoutYou are not a Christian rock band. Unless you want them to be. "It's not like I'm offended if someone calls us a Christian band," Weiss told journalist Matt Fink back in 2007. "I just don't think it's true. I don't think we live up to that calling, so I'd be reluctant to go saying that." Actually, we would be, too. Formed eight years ago when Weiss and his brother, guitarist Michael Weiss, scuttled an earlier project to experiment with new sounds and themes, the Philadelphia-based prog-rockers are just as likely to boost lyrics from Sufi poetry as they are from Judeo-Christian standards. In fact, their fourth and latest studio album — titled, challengingly, it's all crazy! it's all false! it's all a dream! it's all right — was inspired by the teachings of Sufi mystic and famously chill dude Bawa Muhaiyaddeen. Coupled with the band's high-compression musicianship and Weiss' spoken-word singing style, the ecumenical nature of the songwriting feels more orgiastic than pious — like Frank Zappa 69-ing Romeo Void on a Muslim prayer mat in the Vatican. In other words, it ain't Amy Grant or Creed. Heaven forbid.