For most people mid-December means returning home to spend time with your families, but for the members of Buffalo hardcore giants Every Time I Die it also means playing their annual Christmas shows to a legion of rabid fans. This year’s shows, however, had a certain ominous aura surrounding them.
Scheduled for December 19th and 20th, these shows could easily be seen as a pseudo end of the world party, as well as a goodbye to The Mohawk Place, which has been the premier punk rock venue in Buffalo since 1990. With these circumstances in mind, not only did the band have special Mayan calendar shirts printed up with the lyrics “The end is not near. It is now.” but they also pulled out all the stops, breaking out a 20-song set list for both nights.
The highlight of the doubleheader was easily the second night, which singer Keith Buckley aptly dubbed the “Super Bowl of hardcore shows.”
Opening with “I Been Gone a Long Time” off of their seminal release Hot Damn!, the band shook the walls of the venue and incited havoc in the pit, with nonstop energy throughout their extended set. Playing old favorites like “Apocalypse Now and Then” next to new bangers such as “I Suck (Blood),” the boys in what may be the hardest partying band in hardcore exceeded all expectations.
The show was full of the usual Every Time I Die shenanigans, but cranked up to 11. Brothers Keith and Jordan Buckley both took it upon themselves to dive off of the PA monitors mid-song, with guitarist Jordan sporting a gaping hole in the crotch area of his clearly worn out jeans. The show was balls out, indeed. Jordan Buckley also performed another mainstay part of their set, pounding a full beer can into his head during the chorus of the somewhat ironic party anthem “We’rewolf.”
And if these antics weren’t enough, the band also paid homage to their roots and threw the breakdown from Pantera’s “I’m Broken” into the middle of “No Son Of Mine.” Of course simply adding some Pantera into the mix wasn’t enough; Jordan Buckley also insisted that their friend from Japan, Shinobu, get on his shoulders for the breakdown, after which he promptly launched her into the crowd.
Now, it wouldn’t be a total party if you didn’t include all your friends, right? Right, which is why the night also featured a few special guests, most notably Josh Scogin of The Chariot joining in for “Emergency Broadcast Syndrome” and Chris Vetter of Kills and Thrills singing the lyrics “This is a Rock ‘n’ Roll takeover” from “Ebolarama” before doing a front flip into the crowd. As Scogin likes to say, the night was a celebration and that stage was everybody’s stage.
Literally, the stage at Mohawk Place that night was not only for the bands, but also for the fans, with the band inviting as many people as possible onto the stage for their closing song, Ex Lives’ “Indian Giver.” With the band pressed against the sides of the stage and various amps, a group of 30 fans joined them for their final song at a special venue. After the final notes rang out, bassist Steve Micciche handed his bass off to Scogin and leaped off of his cabinet onto the fans on the stage below him, making for one of the greatest and most creative stage dives in Mohawk Place history. Following suit, Jordan Buckley was lifted up by fans and climbed onto the metal piping attached to the ceiling, hanging by his legs. If all of this insanity wasn’t enough to cap off a bittersweet yet excellent show, when the stage was finally cleared there was a dent in it so large that the staff would have to repair it. Every Time I Die may not have been able to tear the roof down for their final time playing Mohawk Place, but at least they were able to break the stage, providing a fitting end to a historic night.