Every Time I Die have long solidified a die hard fan base in Glasgow – their shows here are sell out sweat fests which leave you bruised and hoarse – so when they announced another date at King Tuts in December tickets ran out fast.
Arriving in plenty time was futile, everyone had had the same idea and the bar downstairs was packed long before the venue doors were set to open. Fans of all ages packed in like sardines, regaling each other with memories of previous Every Time I Die shows – the words ‘sweaty’ and ‘bloody’ rearing their heads several times. It was posted only minutes before that the King Tuts show would play host to the first barrier of the current tour but the news didn’t seem to bother the throng of excitable bodies – they were here for a good time, barriers be damned.
Doors didn’t open til 8.30, giving an extra hour or so on top of usual entry time for drinking. This offered the first band, Drug Church (★★★), an opportunity not many first acts have; the room was already packed and the excitement was palpable when they hit the stage. Sadly, they failed to utilise this chance and though their performance was energetic, they never fully engaged the crowd. It’s a tough place to open for two such talented bands, admittedly, the bar being set pretty high but despite their efforts theirs was a set which was was less than memorable. For a band with such hype surrounding their name, one can only hope this was just an off-day and better things are to come.
The crowd was peppered with wide eyed boys in The Chariot shirts, all slowly ambling closer to the barrier in preparation for ’68 (★★★★★). With a two-piece band, it can go one of two ways. Either you’re underwhelmed but unsurprised, chalking the emptiness of the sound down to the lack of members, or you’re pleasantly surprised but never quite sure if they’re great in their own right or are just riding the tailcoats of their initial wow factor. This rule is shattered by ’68 who performed a monstrous set, putting even the most seasoned of musicians to shame and captivating the crowd from the moment they begin.
They perform a couple of brand new, never before heard tracks which demonstrate their love affair with electronic effects has grown exponentially. Infusing Scogin’s hallmark southern drawl with their unique brand of dissonant noise rock, this electro edge gives them a distinctive sound which is almost futuristic. They manage all this whilst maintaining musical integrity; there’s something sincere about their brand of angst riddled syncopation and they stand apart from a scene over saturated with people just desperate to stand out with seeming ease. McClellan, ’68’s second member and drummer, has proven himself yet again to be as technical as he is creative, demonstrating incredible time keeping whilst bringing a classic rock edge to the duo that doesn’t go unnoticed. Fans elbow their friends in the ribs and nod wide eyed towards the stage in a ‘get a load of this guy’ fashion.
As the crowd gazes on, heads attempting and mostly failing to bop to a rhythm that never lasts long enough to catch whilst somehow retaining a sense of groove – a mystery in and of itself – Scogin smiles out to them. “Thank you so much for watching us, they call us the ’68 but you can call us your friends.” A fitting ending to an intimate and emotive set.
It feels like almost no time at all until Every Time I Die (★★★★★) storm the stage, the crowd erupting into a chorus of rabid yelling and raised fists. They are barely a minute deep into their set before the crowd splits, beer cups flying above heads and limbs fly in all gravity defying directions, not to stop for the duration of their time on stage. It’s no surprise, this is the type of carnage they are famous for inciting and the reason they have earned such a dedicated following during their career; which has spanned over 16 years and seen them release 8 studio albums.
The newest of these releases, Low Teens, is the first since revered vocalist Keith Buckley and his brother, lead guitarist and resident injury sustainer Jordan Buckley, have become fathers. Although the new responsibilities have done little, if anything, to reduce the chaos of their stage presence. The response has been overwhelmingly positive both online and off, and the majority of those present are screaming back the new songs with just as much fervour as fan favourites The New Black – during which, I shit you not, a seven foot man dressed in full Santa attire crowd surfed the entire length of the venue – and We’rewolf.
One of the songs which has received the most praise from the new album is Petal which sees Keith turning introspective and vulnerable in a way that he never really has before. A peculiar choice of song, it must be noted, to play immediately after two fans were taken on stage for an usually but unforgettable proposal. She said yes, thankfully, and so the song could be played and embraced guilt free; though judging by the manic behaviour of those present I remain unconvinced a different answer would have reduced their excitement.
A crowd surfing Santa Clause, a proposal, more than one fan escaping the crowd to tend to
bloodied faces and a venue so humid with sweat that the ceiling was literally dripping by the end of their performance… All in a day’s work for these post hardcore moguls.
Photo credit: @delrobertsonphotography