FTonight's Christmas show as mentioned is taking place at the Town Ballroom in the heart of downtown Buffalo featuring three openers before the hometown heroes in ETID close out the night. The first two openers outside of being tremendous live acts don't have many similarities. The first up was Revealer which is an upcoming metal band from Buffalo and got a great response from the hometown crowd that was still making their way inside. The fans that decided to be punctual and get inside on time got an early Christmas present because I'm certain that this melodic band will be a name many hear about in the upcoming year. Following Revealer was a band from the total opposite end of the spectrum in Harms Way, the hardcore band who's riding high on the release of their first studio album in four years entitled "Rust" Harms Way comes out the gate in explosive fashion and doesn't ease up at as they pound through song after song. Lead singer James Pligge aka Hammers McPligue is built like a linebacker except instead of wearing shoulder pads he parades around shirtless, covered in tattoos, and looks like he has five percent body fat. He sings violently over heavy guitar riffs and pounding drums that the crowd instantly connects with as the once mild manner pace that was seen during Revealer has vanished and a new rapid and almost violent pace had picked up and that was just fine with Harms Way, Buffalo, and the next band.
That aforementioned next band was none other than Stick To Your Guns. The hardcore band from Orange County, California has been going almost nonstop since the release of their latest album "Disobedient" but that's nothing new as they've built a reputation as being constant road warriors. They came out on this December night with guns blazing with "Against Them All" off of what some would call their most impressive album "Diamond" in which they also played (my personal favorite STYG song) "We Still Believe". Throughout the night lead singer Jesse Barnett was flawless as he ran side to side and even stood on the rail and let a sea of fans climb over each other to try and get a hand on the microphone to sing in unison. Once they broke into "Nobody" the hit single off of "Disobedient" the crowd was in a pure state of disarray, there was bodies on top of bodies in a race to the rail as well as the biggest pit explosion of the night to this point.
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times"
That's the only quote I can think of to appropriately describe the recent run of luck for the Buffalonians known as Every Time I Die over the last couple months. First they were forced to cancel tour dates in the UK due to the terror attacks in Paris and then only a few dates into this current tour lead singer Keith Buckley had to exit early to go be with his wife and newborn child both of whom I'm happy to report that both wife and child are recovering and healthy. Luckily for the boys in ETID they didn't have to cancel any tour dates as they received help from Exalt front man Tyler Brand and LetLive front man Jason Butler to fill in and do a tremendous job but when it was announced that Buckley would resume his duties as front man to close out the year in his hometown the emotional connection definitely got bumped up a notch. There wouldn't be an emotional connection or things like IPA releases and book signings wouldn't be possible though if ETID didn't go out and deliver night in and night out on stage and that's exactly what happened when they took the stage that was decorated with Christmas trees and wrapping paper. When the opening riffs of "Roman Holiday" hit the pit opened up and the crowd started to move frantically as snow fell from the snow maker that was set up high in the rafters and it was a thing of beauty and it was also the beginning of a twenty song set that featuring classic ETID tunes like "Floater" "The New Black" and more recent ones off their latest album "From Parts Unknown" like "Thirst" and "El Dorado". Throughout the night emotions ran high and one touching moment came when guitarist Jordan Buckley grabbed the microphone in between songs and said a few words about how great it was to have his brother Keith back on stage, the Buckley's aren't known for being a sentimental bunch but it was nice to see especially in the spirit of the holidays. As the show continued on Jordan dove into the crowd over and over, the big man Andy Williams while looking as imposing as ever delivered riff after riff, bassist and mad man Steve Micciche ran around, well like a mad man and drummer Daniel Davidson just never slowed down with his relentless assault on the drums. It was very inspiring to see that after the years of being on the road and touring that whenever they return home the shows go off without a hitch and the level of fluidity is unlike anything you could ever imagine so as they broke into their last song of the night "Indian Giver" it was all hands on deck. During the song the Christmas trees went flying into the crowd, the scene in the crowd from surfers to pitters intensified and Keith climbed a wall on the side of the stage only to trust fall into the sea of people that were happy to catch them, ETID exited the stage to chants of "Let's go Buffalo" which quickly turned to "One more song" and after a few shorts minutes they reemerged to oblige and give the sold out crowd one more song. They broke into "Wanderlust" and the sounds of electric sex came beaming out the speakers one more time as it was the perfect ending to a perfect show.
ETID pulled off their Christmas show for the eleventh consecutive year and in the process provided examples of exactly what Christmas and the holiday season is all about. They manage to bring families and friends together many of which only reconvene during the holidays. From the moment Keith and Jordan shared on stage to all the ETID fans that came from out of town to be a part of this celebration this to me was a pure definition of what the holidays should represent and I can't wait to do it again next December. Thank you ETID and thank you Buffalo! See you next year.
Photo credits: @amberjamesssss
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