Every Time I Die and Company Lay Indianapolis to Waste
Old National Centre has a reputation for being one of the more commonly frequented venues in Indianapolis, particularly for artists with formidable followings. Its multiple rooms allows for the old theatre to be a host to different shows happening simultaneously, but the contrast does not get much more extreme than it was on Friday, May 19th, with R&B pop sensation SoMo in the building’s Egyptian Room upstairs and chaotic hardcore veterans Every Time I Die downstairs in the more intimate Deluxe room. I was tasked with the latter show, and the experience could not have been more memorable.
’68 kicked things off with their minimalistic brand of noise rock. This was my second time seeing the duo, with the first having been in Columbus some three years ago serving as the main support for talk rockers Listener. That said, Josh Scogin and Michael McClellan are just as rowdy as I remember them. This time around though, both men donned suits onstage, which served as an odd pairing with their unconventional sound and attitude, but the two aspects worked together surprisingly well. Scogin’s antics may be the most memorable part of their set, as he wise-cracked both mid-song (like strumming the back of his guitar) and in between tunes – continuously reminding his audience to “not force” their applause. Their set was brief, but Scogin and McClellan left their mark.
Melodic metalcore quintet Wage War was the second act of the night. They opened their set with “Stitch,” a vicious head-banger that was part core, part groove, and part nu metal. Being the early 2000s metal junkie that I am, this track caught my attention as someone who had not heard them before. “Stitch” ended up being my favorite of theirs, but with it they unfortunately set the bar for themselves so high that they never topped that level of intensity. Nevertheless, the Ocala natives brought a catchy metalcore sound that harkened back to acts like Miss May I, Haste the Day, and even As I Lay Dying at certain points. The singing felt a little corny at times, and after a while a lot of their tunes started to blend together. However, musically Wage War was just as tight as those whose footsteps they seem to have followed in, and their positive message – frontman Briton Bond made it a point to pause mid-set and tell his audience how much each and every one of their lives mattered – was a strange but refreshing change of pace from the raucous nature of the two acts sandwiching them.
Of course, the band nearly everybody in the room came for was headliners Every Time I Die, and the Buffalo hardcore metallers did not disappoint in the slightest. There was a sort of contagious energy in the atmosphere from the moment the quintet played its first note. The Buckley brothers jumped into the crowd on a few occasions, and the audience responded with an unlimited amount of energy of their own, from moshing to crowd-surfing to stagediving and everything in between. This back-and-forth made an already-ridiculously good set that much more impressive. The ruckus featured cuts across all of the upstate New Yorkers’ releases, including my personal favorite from last year’s Low Teens, “It Remembers.” Brendon Urie may have been missing, but a casual fan like myself had a hard time hearing that absence, thanks to frontman Jordan Buckley filling in his role too. They must have played somewhere between 15 and 20 songs over the course of their hour-long set, but between the brevity of their compositions and the seamlessness of their performance, it really didn’t feel like that many tracks at all. Even after 2 or 3 encores, the sweaty Indy audience was ravenous to hear more. Every Time I Die put a remarkable finish on a wild and fun night.