Embarking on their most ambitious UK tour yet, Every Time I Die hit the Corporation in Sheffield as part of a day festival with a line-up guaranteed to make even the most passive rock fan struggle to recover their jaw from the ground. As part of a very hasty decision, I made my way there to catch the bill of a lifetime, and finally see if ETID really do put on a show as strong as I’ve been told.
Kicking off the day in style, Essex based Create To Inspire show a valiant effort to get the meandering crowd involved, no easy task at this time in the afternoon. However, despite reluctance from the room, the band get a good few patrons joining in, with vocalist Sean Midson launching himself into the crowd to drum up support (with great results). Musically, however, the band struggle to distance themselves from their very similar sounding counterparts, unfortunately proceeding to showcase the same metalcore set we’ve all seen before. Granted, these sorts of performances live or die on the audiences prior knowledge of the band’s material, given that the fans present were incredibly vocal. I myself am a total stranger to the band’s work, culminating in a set that whilst strong and incredibly energetic, left a lot to be desired. The band’s ability is there, that’s for sure, but a few more memorable riffs and choruses and you could well leave the room talking about Create To Inspire.
At this point, I legitimately don’t know how to review Palm Reader. The sixth (or seventh, I’ve honestly lost count) time I’ve seen them this year, and each show is such an immeasurably vast improvement on the last that it’s hard to quantify the band’s quality. However, this show is helped along by the fact that this time around, Palm Reader’s crowd is unusually large, and incredibly willing. This time around, I was concerned I might get tired of the same set I’ve seen countless times this year, but somehow I was so incredibly wrong. If anything, the set was as proud a moment for me as I’m sure it was them, watching a band so criminally overlooked put their everything into their last set of the year. If anything, it left me worried for the rest of the night’s entertainment, because ladies and gentlemen there are very few things that could possibly touch this set. I may be repeating myself, but I better briefly touch on the musical aspect, right? Crushing riffs, awe-inspiring stickwork from Dan Olds (seriously, the guy is a machine), pained, intense vocal lines and rarely touched upon precision bass-work, Palm Reader are the best band the UK have to offer. Again.
Honestly, it’s incredibly unfair to review any band after that showing. However, that didn’t stop Dead Harts pulling an absolute blinder of a show. As someone unfamiliar with the band’s material, this is how you showcase your best work. Feed The Rhino-esque in both delivery and musical style, the band rip through their relatively short set with ease and brutal finesse, pulling absolutely anybody into their thick, metallic hardcore sound. Jumping into the crowd to incite madness, vocalist Bax incites a riot between a meagre three or four people, but more crucially this could be fifty or more, the performance doesn’t falter regardless of crowd size. The kind of band giving it 100% no matter what the venue or reception, it’s a real treat to behold. The one criticism for the set, however, comes from the sound, not a fault of the band, admittedly, but the mix for the boys was pretty muddy, leading to a harder time picking out individual elements. Nevertheless, an incredibly strong set and incentive to check out Dead Harts for weeks to come.
Moving onto the touring bands, Icelandic based hardcore three piece Muck start strong, but sadly begin to trail toward the end of their set. The kind of band that needs to be enjoyed in short doses, especially for those new to the material. Technically, the band are incredibly tight, and a majority of the riffs showcased hit heavy enough to scale skyscrapers, despite sound issues continuing from previous sets. The band suffer from the kind of sound that after so long leads to melding together into more of a mass of sound than noticeable material, which is a real shame given the ability shown on stage. Would the band have shone brighter given a different slot on the night? Maybe, but by this point, something different, of a different ilk is what the doctor ordered, and the room got their different soon after. However, Muck failed to engage the crowd for any longer than twenty of their fourty-five minute set. Maybe next time, boys.
I mentioned different, and Superheaven were the very antithesis of everything seen so far that night. Treating the crowd to their trademark blend of slow, soft grunge with radio rock anthem choruses, the band have got to be one of the most pleasant surprises I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing this year. An aural delight from start to finish, their material was accessible and catchy without sacrificing depth or any complexity. You might think a band like this would garner a mixed response from the room, but the crowd were just as impressed as me, with some dedicated fans pushing forward to yell the lyrics back at the band, who blazed through their set with grace and an air of too-cool for you that just oozed style. They were brilliant, unlike that last sentence.
Where do I start with Every Time I Die? With the start, I suppose. Hitting the stage with bonafide classic Bored Stiff, the rabid crowd stepped up their game tenfold, and I’m proud to say I remained glued to that barrier throughout. That may sound like a brag, but in all honesty, it’s something that was brought on by an almost child-like anticipation of the band’s performance, and they certainly didn’t disappoint. Something about the set breathed new life and appreciation into the live experience, an appreciation that I felt was almost becoming all too familiar due to the regularity of shows I attend nowadays. Blasting through a 17 song set in little over an hour, the white hot intensity emanating from the stage influenced every single person in the room, with lyrics screamed to the sky and bodies flying left right and centre. A superb, career spanning setlist with deep cuts thrown in all over the place, the band weren’t here to mess around, despite a mid-set break to sing happy birthday to guitarist Jordan Buckley.
Being my first ETID show, it would be hard to say that anything left this year will be able to top it, and a week later it’s still the only thing on my mind. Sometimes, during a show your mind can drift to other places, only if for a brief second, but not with ETID. My only concerns were keeping up with vocal powerhouse Keith Buckley, an whether or not they were gonna play Moor (they did, and it was spectacular). For someone who was worried Sheffield may have received a more low key, diluted set from the band due to the sheer amount of music on display, I left the venue elated, yammering on about the performance for the next few days. And the next few. It goes without saying that as soon as Every Time I Die return to these shores, you owe it to yourself to get to your nearest show, and in my case, the furthest.