The World Is A Beautiful Place’s Phoenix Concert Theatre Set is a Welcome Surprise at Prepare the Ground Festival

12 June 2024 / by Delphine Winton
TWIABP Prepare The Ground
The World Is A Beautiful Place’s Phoenix Concert Theatre Set is a Welcome Surprise at Prepare the Ground Festival
TWIABP’s involvement in the festival was announced mere hours before a set which almost certainly made some new fans out of the audience.

The surprise band performance at the first year of Toronto’s heavy music festival Prepare The Ground’s Saturday lineup was a welcome surprise indeed. Philadelphia-and-Connecticut-based rock band The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die (known among fans as the far more wieldy TWIABP) took the stage at the Phoenix Concert Theatre to play a short but sweet set. The set was something of a departure from the blistering hardcore of the bands on the lineup for the Phoenix the rest of that day, but TWIABP absolutely holds their own. 


TWIABP was formed in 2009, originally with four members, only one of whom remains in the band. The lineup as it stands now is David Bello on lead vocals, Chris Teti on guitar, Josh Cyr on Bass and vocals, Steven Buttery on drums, and Katie Dvorak on synth and vocals. The prominence of the synthesizer in TWIABP’s music lends it a unique spin on the emo/rock formula, and is a welcome addition to the band’s sound, both live and recorded. Their most recent album is Illusory Walls, released in 2021, and they’ve been touring regularly since then, having been in Toronto at Lee’s Palace in February of 2024, and The Velvet Underground in May of 2023. 


TWIABP is known for sweeping instrumentals, full-bodied mixes, and starkly affecting lyrics, which perfectly translate to a live environment. The band’s use of silence and negative space in their music makes the times when they do get heavier all the more affecting. TWIABP always plays a competently put-together set, which is a must with that many intricately connected moving parts. If one part is out of whack, the others risk falling apart, but with such capable musicians, TWIABP never feels in danger of that happening. This doesn’t mean that their set felt formulaic though – quite the opposite. Watching them, you can tell that each member really feels every song, and the band puts a lot of heart into their performance. 


The band started their set with an unreleased song and finished with two more of the same. The remainder of the eight-song set mostly consisted of songs from Illusory Walls, with the guitar in “We Saw Birds through the Hole in the Ceiling” sounding particularly affecting in a live setting. The raw vocals of “January 10th, 2014,” off of 2015’s Harmlessness, was another standout from the evening. 


In comparison to their Velvet Underground show just over a year ago, the crowd at the Phoenix was lower energy than expected. This doesn’t reflect badly on TWIABP at all, though – it can be easily attributed to the fact that it’s a festival set, so not everyone there was a die-hard fan of the band, or even necessarily knew them, and their set was announced late in the game as a surprise band. For pre-existing fans (like myself) this was a welcome surprise at a festival experience that was already shaping up to be a standout event of the summer, and for everyone else who was attending such a competent and dynamic set, this could easily be their introduction to a new favourite band.