We missed the first couple of tracks of Superheaven. Now, I will never say a band is shit and they clearly know how to play/write music, but seeing them live, they really weren’t my thing. They looked and sounded like they had teleported straight from the 90’s. Sonically it’s as though they have religiously learned and practiced all of the slower, softer songs by Nirvana, and used that as the initial blueprint to form their own band. Buzzing, jangling guitars and droning vocals, with a slow, swaying pace. The exact same pace. For every song. Their music reminded me of where I had just come from - being stuck in traffic on the edge of Manchester in the cold and damp for nearly an hour and a half. You may move, but you aren’t really going anywhere. My friends all got bored of the set and left to go out for a cigarette, but I stayed to try and persevere with Superheaven’s music. There were a few nodding heads, and they clearly have some fans here, but lots of people wander off during the set, or are talking in their groups, or transfixed on their phones. However, it did pick up towards the end of their playlist. ‘I’ve been bored’ the opening track and lead single from 2015 album ‘Ours Is Chrome’ seemed to constitute a ‘fast one’, and it was a much needed change of pace and my ears pricked up. They go on to finish the set strongly with ‘Life In A Jar’ one of their heavier songs, which I actually really enjoyed; feedback, sliding guitars, a rumbling bassline, and a steady, but infectious drum pattern, with a great chorus. If the whole of the set had displayed the sort of diversity these last two tracks did, I probably would have written something completely different here. Playing back some of the tracks to write this up, I found myself enjoying them a bit more. My advice here is to check them out for yourself and make your own opinion…
The atmosphere is noticeably different just before Every Time I Die take the stage. Looking around the crowd and seeing familiar faces, it is probably because most of the room have seen Every Time I Die before, they know what to expect and are buzzing with anticipation. Every Time I Die always put on a great show, they have a great back catalogue and always seem to give it their all on stage, you always get a ‘performance’.
Perhaps consequently, they have an almost fanatical fanbase in this country. Or perhaps it’s that their music just makes you want to party hard, knocking back beer and whiskey with reckless abandon. They kick things off with a blistering rendition of ‘Bored Stiff’ which has always been a firm crowd favourite, because there’s not many better ways to start a party than a room full of people screaming in unison “Hey there girls, I’m a cunt!!” The set seems to hurtle along at an incredible pace, playing like a band possessed. Almost as if they are going to try and fit their entire discography into 1 hour. By the time that fantastic rolling drum intro to ‘Decaying With The Boys’ kicks in, the entire venue is well and truly in full-on party mode. The whole front third of the crowd actually jumps up and down in unison for the entire mid section of the song, reminiscent of being at a Sum 41 gig when they played ‘Fat Lip’ back in the day. Some warped sense of pop punk nostalgia, but acted out to a Hardcore soundtrack, and heavy drinking. I was extremely pleased to hear ‘Gloom And How It Gets that Way’ which is one of my favourite tracks, one that sometimes gets overlooked. The pace is kept cranked up to 11, and the drumming to ‘The Great Secret’ which is already furious and frenetic, almost becomes a pummelling grindcore blastbeat, which is then teamed with an equally furious set of guitar riffs. I can’t convey how fast and ferocious this set was, like Every Time I Die were collectively trying to break the sound barrier. With such a strong caliber of songs to choose from, track after track is a hit, each song seemingly raising the bar of the one that preceded it.
‘Ebolarama’ is perhaps understandably the centre piece, it is still one of their landmark tracks and the one that made lots of people sit up and take notice. During the track, vocalist Keith Buckley snatches a beer can from the hand of someone in the front row and drains it in one, all seemingly without missing a beat. What is great to see is that Every Time I Die still seem to relish playing this song live, 12 years later. Many bands get to a stage where they resent the songs that made them the most ‘famous’, and it is understandable. Performing the material night after night, and then being expected by fans to replicate it two years later when it’s time to write a new album. I remember speaking with Architects once and them saying how ‘Hollow Crown’, despite being a blessing with what it did for them as a band, had at the same time become a personal curse. Something that they had come to almost despise. Alkaline Trio apparently feel the same about that song of theirs as well. Maybe Every Time I Die do feel the same about ‘Ebolarama’, but they definitely don’t let it show, and it is one of the highlights of the set
The top notch tracks keep getting rolled out. A great version of ‘We'rewolf’, a real party anthem that seemingly the entire crowd knows word for word, which is followed by another debaucherous crowd favourite, ‘The New Black’. ‘Imitation Is The Sincerest Form Of Battery’ with its meaty, crunching guitar riffs, pounding drums, and staggering start/stop song structure sounds mean as fuck, and is gleefully received by the devoted followers. It’s a chaotic gig, one of those where band and crowd feed off each others energy. The entire room is one voice for ‘Apocalypse Now & Then’, the crowd with their hands up, hurling the lyrics back at Buckley and his band mates. Then comes another of the set highlights ‘Floater’, which is one of the bands heavier songs. It deviates from the party vibe of the set with it’s chaotic, mathcore-esque guitar work, throat shredding vocals and smashing drums. Pattern wise, you could argue that the song is one entire breakdown, but played live it builds and builds to an electrifying crescendo; tense, urgent, chaotic, pummelling and extremely heavy. It’s a fantastic display of technical hardcore “Drag the lake. You will find it is full of love”
The set seems to stay technical and crushing from there on. ‘Roman Holiday’ although slowing the pace somewhat, orchestrates a sea of banging heads, which is then followed by the frantic, and quite frankly, ridiculous drumming of ‘Romeo A Go-Go’, picking up the pace once again before Every Time I Die go in for the kill with an absolutely violent version of ‘Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space’. With its relentless, non-stop punches, it is perhaps the second heaviest breakdown after ‘Floater’. The band teases this one out a bit more, seemingly slowing down and dragging out the finale of the song, intensifying how heavy they can actually be as a band. ‘No Son Of Mine’ is played as one final attempt to break the land speed barrier with music, and half the room invade the stage for the songs epic conclusion “Bite your tongue… Don’t ever say Rock n Roll. Don’t ever say Rock n Roll” They closed the set with ‘Indian Giver’, one of the more theatrical songs in their repertoire. Buckley demands another stage invasion, and his devoted followers hastily respond, seemingly swallowing up the entire band, who are barely able to keep control of their instruments and the song during the melee, but still successfully build towards the epic final crescendo. The stage invaders hoist the vocalist up onto their shoulders, and he somehow manages to continue singing and climb up into the rafters at the same time, seemingly disappearing through the ceiling as the song draws to a close…
This was a great set. It perhaps wasn’t the best performance I have seen Every Time I Die give, but it would have still put so many other bands to shame. In that respect, I can compare them to the Brazilian football team, or New Zealand rugby team. Even when ETID are not at their best, they are are still one of the greatest performing heavy bands working today. They may party hard, but they write, work, play and perform even harder.