Every Time I Die have a good thing going. They have a style of music that is unique enough to stand out among the throng of heavy bands doing the rounds and possess a sound that is approachable enough to appeal to broad range of fans.
They have a reputation as a good time live band and tonight was my first chance to see them at a smaller indoor venue after catching them for a couple of festival sets over the years. My previous impressions had been that they were a good live act that were not necessarily suited to a huge stage and small crowd at midday on the Big Day Out bill. I was really hoping that the chance to witness their “partycore” action in a club would be more akin to seeing them in their natural environment.
But before the headliners were to be a couple of highly touted local bands.
Statues were first up and made quite the impression. It seems as though these guys watched a Dillinger Escape Plan show and thought they would be a decent live act if they took it up a notch or two. Statues went out of their way to bring such a physically punishing and unbelievably visceral performance that it actually came close to being dangerous for the punters. They may need to consider getting audience members to sign a waiver indemnifying them against legal action for injury compensation in future.
They largely ignored the stage, instead getting out in the crowd. The bassist & guitarist swung their instruments like Ukrainian Olympic hammer throwers whilst the singer took to either writhing around on the floor or charging at punters to scream in their grills. I actually had a hard time deciding whether their shtick actually added or detracted from the music.
Musically they were indeed impressive and I enjoyed what I heard. The drummer worked overtime, beating the shit out of his compact kit on stage whilst the other members stalked the room. Statues sound wasn’t groundbreaking but it was very well executed and I liked it a lot.
Check out their bandcamp.
Next up were Chainsaw Hookers who have built a reputation as a balls-out live band and guaranteed good time. I can confirm this reputation is well deserved.
What a great time I had watching these guys pound out their hard rock-punk hybrid. They are polished yet loose and their energy and vibe were contagious. Even as the punters in the front tried to keep the drummers kit from spontaneously disintegrating they seemed in control.
They make music that is both catchy and punchy, not overly complicated in composition with big riffs, gang vocals and occasional breakdowns mixed with leads from the guitarists who showed dexterity and showmanship without being wankers about it. The bassist/vocalist drove things with his cool growling and a foundation of bottom end that held things up nicely. Special kudos to the drummer who kept smiling and beating the bejezus out of his kit even as it fell apart around him.
Chainsaw Hookers were a blast and I recommend them to anyone whose idea of a good time is raucous punk ‘n’ roll with a hefty dose of humour and the right amount of attitude.
Take a peek at Chainsaw Hookers Bandcamp
I actually expected Amps to be more packed for a band like Every Time I Die and was a little underwhelmed by the number of people attending. I figure the fact it was school night along with the sheer number of touring artists coming to town lately meant that many skipped the show.
But the Buffalo boys were hardly going to let that stand in the way and the adoring fans in attendance were keen to make the most of their visit by going as mental as possible.
Singer Keith Buckley is a great front man; he puts out an energetic vibe and seems to be having such a good time it is impossible not be drawn in. Buckley oozes charisma and he continually controlled the vibe as he urged everyone to have fun and encouraged stage diving and other such good-natured hooliganism.
It just would have been nice to hear him clearly. Not for the first time at Amps I was left a little cold by the mix and in particular the loss of clarity and cut through on the vocals and the fact that the intricacies of the guitar were indecipherable.
This was particularly disappointing and frustrating as Buckley’s lyrics and the texture provided by the interplay of the guitars are two of my favorite aspects of ETID and they were both pretty much drowned in the mud.
However the other main attraction for me to this band is the sense of fun and thankfully there was enough of that to nearly make up for the shit sound.
The performance was exuberant and enjoyable with the guys working hard and playing well. The crowd reacted accordingly with bodies flying around all over the place and people basically going apeshit.
Due to the lack of clarity in the mix the best bits of the set were the breakdowns and the build-ups. When everyone in attendance bounced in unison to the crunching riffs it was truly euphoric and when the band let rip and tore it up the punters responded in kind.
The clear standout for me was penultimate track ‘We’rewolf’. But the communal on-stage love-in brought about by Buckley inviting everyone and anyone onto the stage for the final song was also a really cool touch.
So I left slightly disappointed through little fault of the band. When I had seen them before I felt the circumstances of playing such a large stage and sparse crowd did them a disservice, and this time I felt the cramped cavernous venue and lack of clarity did them in a little. But they put on a good show with a palpable sense of fun which deserves kudos despite the other shortcomings.