I don’t want to refer to them as such, but Every Time I Die have become the elder statesmen of hardcore punk. Not only do they record with the fast and furious nature of bands half their age, they tour and play like them as well. I think it’s that youthful exuberance that keeps me interested in watching their next move and combing through Keith Buckley’s witty lyrics to see which ones I get wowed by. I swear my copy of Gutter Phenomenon needs a break from being played. Yes, I still have the original CD. The Starland Ballroom is probably the most ideal place to have a concert like this in New Jersey. It’s just intimate enough, but enough breathing room for you to overlook the chaos. At a ETID show, there are sure to be good times and chaos.
The first band up was the hometown boys from New Jersey, Gatherers. It was my first time seeing the band, but with it being a home show, they put their all into the set, despite it being so early in the day. The next band up, Brigades, seemed to get the crowd a little bit more warmed up with songs like “Dearly Beloved”. Similar to Every Time I Die, each band on the bill had the tenacity to play their hearts out in front of any crowd they could get to.
Counterparts recently released their newest album, Tragedy Will Find Us, and fans were a little antsy to mosh and crowd surf at this point in the night. Songs like “Collapse” had given them that chance, and you started seeing security guards become more active catching kids trying to get to fast-moving frontman Brendan “B” Murphy. Real Friends is a band that I have been watching since they started to bubble up with their Fearless Records debut. The crazy thing is that fans had their phones down the entire time and sang every word of the songs they knew. “Cover You Up” sounded like it had 50 singers backing it. This is a band that is only going to get bigger as go on. They will be back to Starland Ballroom in October (talk about a relentless touring schedule), so if you missed them here, you get another chance. Take it and you won’t be disappointed.
“Hello, we’re Every Time I Die” said lead singer Keith Buckley in what was a rather short and subtle introduction to what was about to happen. The band broke into “We’rewolf” and the place erupted. Bodies everywhere, fists in the air – it was a hardcore punk war zone that Black Flag would be proud of. Within the 17 song set, there were gems like “Floater”, “Roman Holiday”, and even a cover of Nirvana‘s “Tourette’s”. I lost count of how many times I’ve seen Every Time I Die between festivals and standalone shows, but literally every single time, they leave blood, sweat and tears on the stage. Here’s to many more tours and albums to come, because I’m always looking for something dangerous to do on a weeknight.