As human beings, we’re social creatures. We depend on the company and support of others to get through the day, because no one can do life alone. Loneliness can be crushing, paralyzing one from doing the very things they need to do in order to prevent it. But as painful as it is to feel lonely, there’s a form of relief in hearing that you’re not the only one to feel that way. Alt-electronica duo MISSIO released their debut album Loner last May, and for anyone who’s felt like a loner, it’s a reminder that others feel their pain. The Austin-based duo, consisting of Matthew Brue (as vocalist, producer, and primary lyricist) and David Butler (as instrumentalist and producer) brought their Loner Tour to The Foundry at The Fillmore Philadelphia earlier this month, and while a concert might not cure your loneliness, spending a Sunday night in a room of hundreds of other people enjoying the same songs that you are may be a reminder that you’re not alone in feeling that way.

Opening the show was rock and roll group Welshly Arms. The six piece group calls Cleveland their home, and through their brief set, it was clear that while each member could hold their own, they were a true collective effort, shining brightest when playing together.  While “Sanctuary” and “Down To The River” were clear highlights of their set, there’s no denying the power of a good cover: Welshly Arms released an EP of cover songs back in 2014, and their take on Sam & Dave’s “Hold On, I’m Comin'” had everyone in the room smiling.

The main room at The Fillmore holds 2500 people, but the Foundry, located upstairs, holds just 450. Like most small venues, it doesn’t offer the same privacy of a larger room; there are no curtains to block the stage from view at the beginning of a set. Yet there was undoubtedly clear anticipation, excitement and curiosity for what the night might bring when MISSIO began. When the group – Brue, Butler, and their live drummer – took the stage, they were dressed in all white. Perhaps it was purely a fashion statement, but with Loner‘s themes of sobriety and inner turmoil, it felt symbolic, as if expressing a desire for a fresh start.

Opening a set with an unreleased song is a bold move: MISSIO began their performance with “Temple Priest,” a song they’d later inform the crowd was recorded earlier this year, but has yet to be released. A hard-hitting song with plenty of rap influence on the vocals, fans may not have known the words, but they were screaming along as if it had been a track they’d loved for years. A year of regular touring and festival performances has done MISSIO well, and “I Do What I Want” and “KDV” were proof that they’re finding their footing as a live act.

While industry hands are important in making things happen, any artist ultimately achieves success only because of the fans that support them. MISSIO knows this, and took the time to thank the “MISSIO Mafia,” a group of fans that are “genuinely and truly representing who we are.” As a thank you to the fans who’d help them sell out a headlining show on a Sunday night, they performed their much-requested cover of Lana Del Rey‘s “West Coast.” It may have been a Sunday night, and while everyone had to go to work the next day, through songs like “I Don’t Even Care About You” and “DWI,” it was clear that no one was holding back. Fans were screaming every word, reveling in the catharsis in the room.

Every song that MISSIO has written is honest; every song tells a real life story, and Brue is incredibly aware of the power in songs like “Everybody Gets High,” which he introduced simply as “a story about my life,” in connecting with others, saying, “What’s really cool about what we get to do every night is it’s so much more than playing songs…. The platform we’ve been given can be used for good or for bad, and a lot of the songs we’ve written are an outlet about things we’ve experienced and hopefully they’re helping other people grow and deal with things they’ve experienced.”
Loner centers around themes of “depression and anxiety and things people are afraid to talk about,” and while any artist writing about such topics does so partially for self-expression there’s something greater to be found: for their listeners to feel heard. “Even if you leave with terrible things to say about the show, I hope you know you’re not alone,” Brue said when introducing “Can I Exist,” a slower, devastating song written “in one of the darkest and most depressed times of my life.” But as dark as it was, it offered a point of peace and a reminder that no one is alone in feeling the pains of loneliness.
An anthem for anyone who’s felt frustrated by society and the world around them, “Middle Fingers” became MISSIO’s breakout hit in early 2017. Offering a message of unity and togetherness in rebellion, the song had everyone in the room raising their middle fingers to the sky in solidarity, as well as singing along to every line.
For their encore, Missio once again flipped tradition on its head, and rather than closing with a fan favorite, they played another new song: this one was called “Black Roses,” and Butler dedicated it to “every man who has cheated on his wife and left his family and abandoned them.” While they may have taken an unorthodox approach to building their set list, if the energy they left the room with was any clue, MISSIO know what they’re doing. Though Brue began making these songs in 2014, they’re still a relatively young act to the general public – Loner came out less than a year ago, in May 2017 – but the future is wide open and they are certainly an act worth paying attention to.

Welshly Arms



Missio are currently on the road for the Loner Tour, which will conclude with a hometown show in Austin on April 14.  They’ll also be performing at Bottlerock Napa Festival in Napa, CA in May (with Bruno Mars, The Killers, The Chainsmokers, and more) and the Radio 104.5 Birthday Celebration in Camden, NJ in June (with Thirty Seconds To Mars, Walk The Moon, and more). For more information and a full list of upcoming tour dates, head to their website.