The Tooth and Nail Records Tour kicked off at The Factory in Ft. Lauderdale on Thursday night, but without one key component – its headliner Further Seems Forever, who, due to turmoil within the band, were forced to withdraw from the tour.

Lead singer Jason Gleason decided to leave the band several weeks ago in the midst of recording a new album and with this headlining tour looming in the horizon. It seemed for a while that the band had temporarily patched things up and were planning to make this their farewell tour. Unfortunately, at the last minute things fell through again.

This leaves four other Tooth and Nail bands to carry out a national tour without the help of its well-known band Further Seems Forever. These bands, Emery, Watashi Wa, Me Without You, and Anberlin, certainly have their work cut out for them.

Emery opened the show Thursday night. I have to admit that, thanks to I-95 traffic, I didn’t get to see their set. After sampling some of their music, they seem to follow the recent trend known as “screamo.” After bands like Thursday hit it big, pop punk bands started to incorporate a little bit of screaming into their music and the latest fad was born. Emery does what they do pretty well, but sadly it’s not very original.

Next up was the California band Watashi Wa. They played a lively and somewhat infectious set of poppy rock. The highlight of their set, and one of the higher points of the night, was when they covered the Police song “Message in a Bottle.” You could tell that these guys were doing what they loved, and that in itself made their collection fun.

Playing third in the line up was possibly Tooth and Nail’s most unique band, Me Without You. They’re an innovative rock band with catchy, and sometimes scary, melodies sometimes reminiscent of bands like Cursive. Lead singer Aaron Weiss either speaks or screams most of the lyrics, but when he screams it’s not like your average hardcore voice. He screams with a kind of emotion that is seldom found in music. UM Freshman Julian Ferraldo had this to say of the show: “Nothing really stood out to me besides the music of Me Without You. I thought they were pretty good even though [Weiss] scared me.” Me Without You was the only band to really get the crowd into their performance.

Closing the show in the absence of Further Seems Forever was Orlando’s own Anberlin. They’re a rock band with instrumentals similar to pop punk but vocals that are hard to label. It was clear that the members had talent, that their music was solid, but the audience was just not feeling their arrangement. While they certainly performed with energy, they just don’t seem to have what it takes to be a headlining band, or at least not yet. They finished the show and neglected to give an encore. However, nobody in the audience seemed too disappointed by that.

Matt Dingerdissen can be contacted at