I wasn’t sure if last night’s show was in the cards for me. My brother and I wanted to go so badly but he has been in Berlin for the past couple of days and if his flight was off by even a few minutes, we were never going to make it. As I drove around the airport terminal waiting for him to come out and load into my car, I prepped myself for the idea that I wouldn’t be going to The Early November show. I mean, if it were me, and I was just getting back from a nine day vacation half way around the world, I would surely just want to go home and pass the hell out for a couple of days. That being said, my brother and I may not have much in common but we do share a passion for damn good music and being able to catch that live so it was really no surprise to me when he got in the car and stated that all he had to was grab some dinner and that we would go somewhere quick as to not miss the show. I couldn’t believe it but instantly took a sigh of relief knowing that I wouldn’t have to miss The Early November.
Even though we had the best of intentions of catching the entire show, we didn’t make it in time for OWEL. My sincerest apologies to this New Jersey based band. I honestly know nothing about them but plan on spending a good chunk of today digging into their music. I mean, they opened up for The Early November, they have to be amazing.
We made it just in time for Have Mercy to take the stage. Have Mercy is one of those bands that I love the idea of but, for some reason, just can’t seem to get into their recorded music. It’s full of passion and love but there’s just something about it that I can’t stand but, as I realized when I saw these guys last November, there’s something truly special about their live performance and last night was no difference. Even though vocalist Brian Swindle was sick (like super sick, like I seriously felt bad for him and could see he was on the edge of miserable), he and the rest of the band gave the modest audience at The Garage everything they had. The fact that Have Mercy’s set felt so powerful even with Brian being on the verge of collapsing says everything about this band that needs to be said. They are intense, unique, and full of love for not only their craft but also their fans and you could feel that in the audience.
Even though my brother was clearly fading fast into a state of zombie-like exhaustion, there was nothing that was going to keep either of us from eating up every note of The Early November’s closing set. I had made the point to my brother that we just saw The Early November in June but then he turned around and made the point that The Early November was only opening that show with New Found Glory and that he had never seen The Early November headliner. I thought back and the more I thought about it, I realized that I hadn’t seen them headline either (or at least not that I could remember). My brother then continued to go on about how this was his Bayside– meaning that The Early November was his ride or die– his band that speaks to him– his everything. Sure, I didn’t quite share that level of excitement for the band but I was definitely stoked to be catching this brilliant band yet again and couldn’t help myself from getting lost in the excitement as the band jumped into their set.
Their seventeen song set spanned the entirety of their nearly twenty year, five full-length album life. The Early November is one of those bands that never seemed to get the recognition that they deserved but also never gave up. Even with a four year hiatus in the middle of everything, they never gave up and never lost their relevancy in the scene. Sure, they were never a huge name that made it to the airwaves but, when you ask people in the scene, The Early November means absolutely everything. They were the type of band that you could either cry to or dance to depending on your mood. Sure, they often got put into the “emo box” but they are so much more than that and always have been.
The audience, although small, was mighty. From the overly excited guys who were jumping around to every beat to the more quiet fans that just stood there with their heads clearly lost in a cloud of nostalgia and feelings, you could literally see the music hitting everyone in the audience in their own way. It created the perfect setting for the perfect night and although there were times where I clearly got lost in my own head while singing along to the songs that helped me get through my angsty teenage years, I always felt a sense of warmth and community around me. Some performers will urge the audience to create a judgement free zone when it comes to their concerts. The Early November never had to make that statement. Their music, their fans, and their vibe demands a judgement free zone without having to ask for it.
I honestly don’t know how my brother made it through the show but I’m thankful he did. I would have been so bummed if I had missed last night’s show.
Venue: The Garage
Sausage Fest Meter- 5 out of 10
Smell-O-Meter – Nothing Notable
Average Age of the Crowd- 24
Crowd Surfers- None
Chill-Ability- 8.9 out of 10
Stage Divers- None
Broken Bones- None
Spotted Flying Through The Air- Nothing
Idiots Taken Out By Security- None
Celebrity Sightings- None
Overall Score- 8.7 out of 10
Show on Deck- Ari Lennox/ Lizzo
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