Article and Photos: Adrienne Row – Smith
Ottawa, Ontario — With temperatures far below freezing, many fans were waiting in their cars or in line with Tim Hortons (the national beverage of Canada) waiting to head into the sold out show of Eternal Sleep, Harms Way, Knocked Loose, Every Time I Die. The night would one filled with aggressive music, movements, and humidity.
Up first for the night were Pittsburgh natives Eternal Sleep, who fiercely opened their set, and got those looking to mosh started right away. However, for the rest of the crowd, the band needed to work harder to get them to move or sing along. They fixed this when the band began playing “Last Kind Words” which had Knocked Loose guitarist Isaac Hale came up on stage to do guest vocals, which caused those who were merely bobbing their heads began to mosh or come up to the front to sing along. As their set progressed more and more frozen Canadian fans began to break free their casual viewing and some broke out into some serious hardcore dancing, showcasing the band’s the ability to inspire the crowd to let loose sooner than later.
After Eternal Sleep got the show on the road, Harm’s Way took the torch and dominated the stage, taking whoever was not already moshing and bringing them forward. The room at this point was much more packed, with more of the crowd being involved in Harm’s Way set. Frontman James Pligge, and guitarist Bo Lueders were the most dynamic of the night, moving and kick jumping in the small space that they had allotted for themselves. Yet the rest of band was equally active but were channeling a more grunge aesthetics, by headbanging and moving in the small space that they owning. During Harm’s Way set, I also noticed that the band had more female fans eager to lay their eyes on the band and more were headbanging than most of their male counterparts in the room. The band also played slightly faster than Eternal Sleep, and this was perhaps best reflected in the amount of energy provided by the fans during their set. During one song, they had a wave of bobbing heads and motions in some form. With their final song, for some in the crowd, the energy provided by the band was too much to ignore and caused many in the crowd to begin hard core dancing, which seemed to force those worried about getting hit by the feelings of others to give them a wide berth.
When Knocked Loose took the stage, The Brass Monkey was filled to the brim with both bodies and energy. The band itself neglected to stay in one spot and making sure that they crowd was given what they asked for. While the band decided to cut out the drum monitor, drummer Pac Sun did not lose his fire or tempo, ensuring their songs were delivered as aggressively as they crowd responded to them. Vocalist Bryan Garris took a break from his vocal duties, allowing those leaning over the barricade to sing their songs, or given them some other form of acknowledgment like a fist bump or high five. When the band kicked into “No Thanks,” the crowd lost their collective minds with those, not in the mosh pits pushing to get in. Those right up against the barricade were holding on to it for dear life but were headbanging so hard it looked as though they were going to hit their heads on the barrier. The potential for this was furthered, as fans not close to the barricade began to push and shove their way to the front, climbing over each other in an effort to show their respects and knowledge of the lyrical content. But it was clear as to why Knocked Loose was directly supporting, as the crowd caused the start of visible condensation on the roof, and the venue also took on an energetic haze. It was clear that Garris and Hale’s harsh vocals and lyrical content really resonated with the crowd, especially the female fans who fought their way to the front to be seen. The band was captivating as when they asked for hands in the air they got them, as they demanded circle pits their request was met, and even when fans needed to leave during their set for smoke breaks or air they would walk backwards and peered over the stairs to ensure that they would not miss much of the set. When their set finally came to a close, many fans left the venue without jackets and went out into minus 14 or 20 weather, showing that the band did a phenomenal job at getting the crowd prepared for Every Time I Die.
Every Time I Die were perhaps the hottest band to grace The Brass Monkey, as their set literally produced more heat than comes with a Canadian summer. Taking time make sure their devotion was heard, the fans were louder than my ear protection, screaming every single line of the songs being played. Vocalist Keith Buckley made sure that he acknowledged them, by going close to the barricade and allowing some folks to sing into the mic, or jumping up into the crowd to sing with folks who were crowd surfing. The rest of the band never stopped moving, sweating so much that guitarist Jordan Buckley left a spot on my camera. Furthermore, the crowd was so energetic that you could see the sweat hit the ceiling, highlighting that Every Time I Die will work just as hard in an intimate setting as well as the bigger venues that they commonly play. The crowd was also so happy to see the band, that they have not been here in almost three years, that even before they got halfway through the first song fans were crowd surfing to the front. The band also had some phenomenal production, which contrasted their non – stop motions nicely creating a slow strobing effect on their movements. The atmosphere that they helped create allowed the crowd itself to take on one identity, as many knew the lyrics off by heart, and it appeared that the crowd was one wave of motion as their head banging was synchronized. The band also took some time in between songs to acknowledge the dedication and energy of the fans, especially acknowledging one individual who took his shirt off in the first 30 seconds and dedicated a song from their newest release Low Teens to him. With that they kicked into it, some fans sprinted knocking into myself and others in an effort to make sure they showed their appreciated by moshing their little hearts out. Every Time I Die show was calculated chaos, where every note they played was met with a severe reaction, as this was evident in the fact that the crowd provided perhaps the largest circle pit that The Brass Monkey has ever seen. Buckley dedicated “The New Black” to a fan who he “thought was on Molly because she was smiling too hard,” but the fan was just excited to have a front row seat to their magnificent madness.
In sum, if you are looking for a band that will fulfill your need for more cowbell, definitely look no further than Every Time I Die, as the band is charismatic so much so that even security was bobbing along to the music when not catching crowd surfers. If you can catch this tour, recommend checking out all the bands, especially if you’re looking for a good little workout in an evening.