“What you are about to see… is the single best live band that you will ever see… if this is your first time, you’re in for a treat.” These were the rambling words of a drunken man that still hadn’t listened to the fact that this was actually my third time seeing Every Time I Die. His name was Jackson and it was his twelfth time watching the hardcore stalwarts from Buffalo, but after yet another set of mayhem, you can’t blame him (or myself for that matter) for always coming back for more.
This was the second time the band had visited the UK in 2016. They seem to have a love affair with the capital in particular, but it isn’t often you get to play a show at a bowling alley. It was as intriguing as it sounds. Despite the fact that I absolutely suck at the sport, even I would agree that the venue was magical, decked out with retro-style lanes, an extensive bar and ample sized stage to boot, all in one room. Larger than the likes of the Underworld, but nothing ever stops ETID from turning any venue into a shitstorm. Once again, I was joined by Matt who was already battle-hardened by the Counterparts show earlier in the week.
“It was just sort of… carnage, wasn’t it?”
The first support came in the form of Drug Church, who are also upstate New York natives. They were pretty decent, with their eccentric vocalist Patrick Kindlon looking particularly wired. “Bear Grylls on meth” as Matt noted, which was about as accurate as anything I’d ever heard. He educated us about how popular bowling is in the Midwest, and a succinct review of his career of mediocre singing. Very banterous and entertaining. Nothing could really prepare us for what came next, however.
Josh Scogin, vocalist of metalcore legends The Chariot (RIP), has a new band called ’68 in which he slams out riffs and occasionally screams something into a microphone whilst Michael McClellan holds the madness together on a drum kit. The live performance was even stranger. Both decked out in suits, and facing each other during the whole set, the band tore through a song list where you couldn’t really tell when one song started or finished, or if these were even songs at all, or just made up on the spot. Scogin used a pedal so he could humorously play with “no hands”, displayed the word “THANKS” written in duct tape on the back of his instrument, dabbed mid-riff, and also deconstructed the drum kit at the set’s finale whilst McClellan continued to play on whatever he had left to use. “White Stripes on meth” is, again, quite accurate. Some would have called the act slightly pretentious, but the whole crowd was suitably confused, and thrilled. Scogin also broke into a series of bumbling speeches that wouldn’t be out of place at Live at the Apollo. Great stuff, plus Matt caught half a drum stick.
After a bit of miscommunication with Jackson, who was professing his love for ETID and me (we’d only just met…), the much-anticipated headline act were up. Nonchalantly entering the room to a huge ovation, Keith Buckley aggressively ordered for stage divers and as they broke into the relentless new track Glitches, the craziness went from zero to a million within about two seconds, both Matt and I drenched by pints in about as little time. For the next hour and a quarter, there was barely room to breathe, onslaughts of crowd surfers and the entire floor was a pit. Even after almost 20 years, no other bands command a response like ETID.
“A man also found himself a bit lost onstage in-between songs and had his shirt confiscated as a punishment”
Everything was just absolutely flawless, even my ill-advised stagedive during Wanderlust with nobody deciding to catch me, and landing on my coccyx. Cheers, guys. Some other personal highlights include being pulled on stage by guitarist Jordan Buckley (not in that way), being stared at by intimidating man-mountain Andy Williams, and pitting to hardcore bangers such as crowd-pleaser Bored Stiff or I Didn’t Want to Join Your Stupid Cult Anyway. Elsewhere, Keith Buckley batted away a bloke’s phone who shamelessly tried to take a selfie with him, leaving him shuffling awkwardly on stage. A man also found himself a bit lost onstage in-between songs and had his shirt confiscated as a punishment, and Jordan Buckley, having dived into the crowd multiple times (most notably during the deliciously insane Thirst) was left with blood strewn across his face and shirt. There’s no stopping him. I luckily avoided a bloody nose this time, instead receiving the most amount of scrapes and bruises I’ve ever left a gig with.
To cap off a wonderful evening, both of us were joined by what seemed like the majority of the crowd on the stage itself with the band, who finished (?) with a rendition of my favourite song of 2016, Map Change. Whatever was left of my voice somehow managed to work and it was splendid. The moment that is, not my less-than-dulcet tones. As we clambered off thinking it was the end, the band returned after a few minutes to play Fear and Trembling, although without Jordan’s guitar parts, as he was struggling to get his gear working for the whole song after it got crushed by kids onstage. A bit of a shame, but I suppose it wasn’t working for the song before either, as I witnessed Jordan opting to surf the on-stage crowd rather than play anything anyway. Standard.
This being the third, and best, set I’ve seen from ETID, I couldn’t recommend seeing them enough. Or if you fancy a bowl, visit the O2. Matt had this to say:
“It was just sort of… carnage, wasn’t it?”
Yes. Yes it was. ETID, please come back again soon. London loves ya.
(He rather insisted… Ed.)