“This thing in here, this room, it’s beautiful!!” So said (or more accurately, roared) Keith Buckley during an incendiary show at Concorde 2. It was hard to disagree with the Every Time I Die frontman and lyricist after a show that will live long in the eardrums, hearts and souls of all who participated in a celebratory atmosphere down by the sea. Nights and shows like these aren’t to be merely watched, they are to be immersed in. Four exceptional hardcore bands, flexing their metal muscles, tonight tore up the venue to a degree that they will probably need to call the structural engineers in to check on the foundations.
First up, Leeds-based Higher Power – who describe their music as being, “for the moshers, by the moshers”. Despite the early start time of 6pm, they wasted no time and attacked the stage in a brutal and effective fashion. Next up, Knocked Loose ramped up the aggression with a fiery set led by Bryan Garris’ spinning and wheeling around the stage while Isaac Hale marshalled the audience in his deep growl. Despite Garris’ urging, there was a comical gap in the centre of the venue as many obviously didn’t quite dare to set foot within the circle pit that was rapidly filling up and stood about six feet back. The sound at this point was chest-rattling, with Cole Crutchfield (guitar) and Kevin Otten (bass) continuously returning to the huge wall of amps to add even more layers to their sound.
The final support on this exceptional line-up came from Canada’s Comeback Kid. As the band arrived on stage in darkness, frontman Andrew Neufeld sprinted onto the stage and was deep in the crowd within a minute of the first song – a place he returned to throughout a set that was phenomenal in its power, ferocity and scale. Comeback Kid grabbed hold of the audience by the scruff of its collective necks, and didn’t let go for 40 sensational minutes. ‘G.M. Vincent and I’ was a breathless assault, with its recollection of the aftermath of a serious road accident that Neufeld was involved with in 2010. It was a show that deserved to be a headline slot in its own right, and Brightonsfinest will be right down the front when they hopefully return to Brighton again in the near future.
With the packed audience ready and primed, Every Time I Die burst onto the stage – bringing a savage burst of noise that was viscerally intense, a sonic explosion so loud that you could literally feel it prodding and tugging at your insides. Resigned smiles played on the faces of the security at the front of the stage, as they waited for the inevitable onslaught of stagedivers and crowdsurfers. They kicked off with ‘No Son Of Mine’, before a surprise short-and-sweet cameo from local hero Architects’ Sam Carter during ‘Floater’ ramped up the atmosphere even further. Keith Buckley, his distinctive scream sounding exceptional and as strong as ever, was crouched over in a ball as his brother Jordan (with his foot in a protective case after breaking it recently) clambered straight up onto the amps. Andy Williams stood to their left, looking like he was ready to carve mountains apart with his bare hands just as soon as he finished laying waste to Brighton with his guitar. Alongside them, returning bassist Stephen Micciche and Daniel Davidson (drums) provided mighty beats that propelled the band on.
“There ain’t time to talk, let’s just rock!” was the band’s mantra tonight, and it was one that the crowd lapped up. As Keith screamed: “I still howl like an animal in the darkness, and I’m reminded by the blood on my clothes, I can’t stand what I’ve become” on ‘It Remembers’, with his back arched, he tapped into that very same vein of animalistic nature. The crowd by now resembled one of those toast machines that you get in hotels, a never-ending roll of crowdsurfers arriving at the front only to be picked up and propelled straight back into the churning pit of bodies in front of them. It was exhilarating in the way that a truly great hardcore show can be at its best, something that looks aggressive on the surface but is actually far from it.
As the show progressed, it became a true collaboration between band and fans, lines blurred as the band continually encouraged and demanded more from the crowd – who gave everything and received the same in return. It was the sort of night that summed up the hardcore scene perfectly as, despite the bedlam of the circle pits, lost mobiles and wallets were chucked onto the stage rather than being pocketed – a far cry from recent news stories emerging from other big gigs currently. You get out what you bring to hardcore shows, and tonight was a perfect example of band and audience both bringing it 120%. 19 years and eight albums down the line, Every Time I Die are showing no signs of easing off the gas and continue to be responsible for one of the most exciting and intense live shows around.