I trekked down to Branx, located in the industrial district in Portland, OR to see Every Time I Die's spring headliner, with support from: The Acacia Strain, Vanna, Hundredth, and No Bragging Rights.
If you're not familiar with No Bragging Rights, don't worry, so are a lot of people, especially with this type of crowd. The band initially got a flat response from the small crowd in attendance that had shown up early. But you know what, as the band made it explicitly clear with their performance that they REALLY wanted to be there, people started to warm up to them and get a bit more enthusiastic. The band has the potential to really go somewhere big, and I think they're just started to realize their identity as a band - what is more interesting is that this band started to get serious around 2005. Keep an eye out for vocalist Mike Perez, as he can not only scream, but can also sing quite well.
Hundredth...where to begin with Hundredth? This was not the band I had seen 3 or 4 times before in the last few album cycles. For a positive Christian band, a few things caught my eye: vocalist Chadwick Johnson now says "fuck" on stage, and the band now sells merch with the American flag upside down with the word "Revolt" on the back - is this band the official voice of the Tea Party movement or something? Not exactly, I suppose. The thing that hasn't changed is the band's overall message to be positive and not be discouraged by people in the world making money off of negativity.
I then proceeded to meet up with Vincent Bennett of The Acacia Strain in their band wagon, they had just gotten back from a dinner with Rise Records. Also in the bandwagon was Larry and His Flask guitarist (and local Oregonian) Dallin Bulkley; they're definitely one of the best bands for your dollar when you're looking for a good time, trust me on this one. Anyways, Vincent and I proceeded to talk about Valentines Day, Rise Records, Death Is The Only Immortal, etc. Look for it in a few days or so.
I came back inside to catch the second half of Vanna's set, and they TOO wanted to be here. In fact, they wouldn't take not moving around for an answer, you were going to move whether you liked it or not, regardless if you knew the words. They played a new song from a record that comes out in a few weeks that sounded pretty good, enough to where I'll have to check it out at least. I'll admit, I don't really think I ever really gave Vanna a fair shot, mainly because I noticed a lot of scene kids obsessing over their single "Trashmouth" at the time it was released...my bad!
Not too soon after Vanna left, the room went black, and The Acacia Strain hit the stage, coming back to using "Beast" as an opener. Now, if you're not familiar with The Acacia Strain, you'd be better off knowing that it's a bad idea staying anywhere close to the pit if you don't want to get hit - in fact, you'll probably end up getting hit even if you aren't near the pit. Deal with it. Now that we've established that it gets extremely violent during their shows, you should probably know that if you're super religious (or can't agree to disagree), you're not going to have a good time either; "I don't care about Jesus Christ, God, or The Devil, because there IS no Jesus Christ. There is only YOU, and ME, and I, and I will steal your fucking soul", says vocalist Vincent Bennett. The band proceeded to rip through fan favorites like "Ramirez" and "Woah! Shut It Down", and added new songs such as "Dust And The Helix", a quick ripper that's fast and to the point. The band ended their set with "Tactical Nuke", and transitioned into "JFC", as the entire room bellowed "I AM THE END OF THE WORLD".
But I got a few questions for you: do you like to CIRCLE PIT? do you like to STAGE DIVE? do you like to hit the PIT and mosh? do you like to SING ALONG with your friends? YOU DO? That's good man, REAL good, because I just found the right band for you to watch - Every Time I Die.
Now I don't know what's up with people shouting 'Let's go Buffalo" before the band walks on stage, but let me tell you, not only are we not in Buffalo, but the Seattle Seahawks are 10 times better than the Bills - are you gonna tell me the Bills defense is going to find a solution to Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson? DIDN'T THINK SO. Next observation.
The band kicked off their 70 minute set with "Floater", off Hot Damn, which will surely please older fans of the band. Whether you're a fan of the band's older material or new material or both, you're in for a good time, they're here to please. Classics such as "Apocalypse Now And Then", "No Son Of Mine", and "The New Black" got the crowd excited and eager to sing along. Newer ass-kickers like "Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space", "Holy Book Of Dilemma", and "Partying Is Such Sweet Sorrow" compelled people to stagedive at a consistent pace; even a few hooligans were inspired by vocalist Keith Buckley and jumped off the speakers near the ceiling, some real Circus De Soleil shit right there! Oh, but don't get caught on stage near the end of the song, because you're gonna be STUCK there, in a game ETID affectionately likes to call "Vanna has to drink as long as you're on stage" - throughout the set this happened numerous times. I've had a number of excellent experiences with Every Time I Die over the last 6-7 years, and this one was certainly for the memory books. The band ended their set with "We'rewolf" and "Indian Giver".
After the show I had to leave for an appointment with Dr. Keith, because I'm a terrible human being.