Review by Robert Moody
It was another sweaty night at the Slade Rooms in Wolverhampton as a pair of bands from New York joined forces to make as much noise and cause as much mayhem as possible.
Unfortunately, as we travelled from Nottingham we did not arrive in time to see London Hardcore stalwarts Last Witness open the show, but those in attendance seemed suitably warmed up for the arrival of Stray From The Path, from Long Island, who chugged and stomped their way through a rapid fire set full of politically motivated Hardcore Punk tracks. Whilst the band are now into their 10th year, all of the material from the set came from their 2 most recent releases, which have seen the band move more towards the ‘Metalcore’ end of the musical spectrum – breakdowns prevailed over melodies, and the main focus was on the hugely passionate vocals of Drew York and drum work of Dan Bourke. Whilst not everyone in the crowd was willing to get involved with the set, the throng at the barrier was singing along to nearly every song and there was plenty of action in the moshpit behind. Stray From The Path are quickly becoming one of the top bands in a growing genre, and should be very well received when they tour next year with The Ghost Inside.
As the venue filled up rapidly between bands, though, it was clear who the majority of the audience had paid to see, as Every Time I Die, from Buffalo, arrived on stage to a huge reaction. Whilst the band were headlining in the UK for the first time since the release of their latest album Ex Lives, the set offered a mixture of songs from the band’s extensive back catalogue, with fan favourites ‘Kill The Music’, ‘Bored Stiff’ and ‘The New Black’ all showcased during the first half of the set. As a band who have not had a huge number of lineup changes over the years, Every Time I Die look supremely comfortable on stage, and vocalist Keith Buckley was, as always, in a playful mood, mocking the incomprehensible shouts from the front few rows between songs and generally having a good time. Guitarists Jordan Buckley and Andy Williams were also on top form and showed plenty of energy bouncing around the stage. One of the notable things about the band that becomes clear when you see them live is that they have stuck to what they know across their many albums – they play lively, energetic metalcore with a Southern Rock influence, and whilst a lack of variety is often used as a criticism of an established band, the songs on show are so infectious and enjoyable that there is no sense of monotony, even across a set lasting nearly an hour and a half. In fact, the only element of predictability comes during the encore, as the band close out their set as they always do with ‘Floater’. Whilst this wasn’t the largest show Every Time I Die were playing on this tour, the smaller venue gave the gig an enjoyable intimacy, and helped to reaffirm why the band have been so successful over so many years – you are always guaranteed a great show, and tonight was no exception.