Every Time I Die – Camden Electric Ballroom, London

By Tom Aylott

Boasting the best line-up of any tour in 2011 since the impeccable BRING ME THE HORIZON / ARCHITECTS / PARKWAY DRIVE / DEVIL WEARS PRADA road show back in April, four of the greatest alternative bands on the circuit are present at the Electric Ballroom tonight for their thirteen date showcase.

SPYCATCHER take to the stage at Camden’s comparably intimate venue in front of a half-capacity crowd, competently drifting through a handful of upbeat punk inspired melodies. By their own admission the Watford based four-piece do not necessarily fit the heavier bill, yet the more explosive moments during their set provide some explanation of the placement. Regardless of their validity on the tour, SPYCATCHER show how to handle the opening slot; playing as if to a full capacity venue. Lead vocalist Steve Sears takes the stage as his own and despite its compact size, snakes in and out of the other band members in an attempt to engage all corners of the Electric Ballroom.

It is with somewhat expected surprise that DEFEATER appear with an acoustic guitar for their opening number. ‘I Don’t Mind’ may have divided fans in the first instance upon the release of second LP ‘Empty Days and Sleepless Nights’, but its popularity is undeniable. Rarely can a band incite an acoustic sing-a-long in the midst of a destructive line-up. That said, DEFEATER know when enough acoustic guitar is enough, and immediately plough into lead single ‘Dear Father’ before taking no prisoners with their expert blend of brutish screams and melodic atmosphere. Easily one of the highlights of the night, DEFEATER will undoubtedly find themselves at the top of the pile in the coming years.

It is the job of TRASH TALK to take the ferocity one step further, proving that songs do not need to exceed the two minute mark to pack a punch. That said, the Californian beasts are not quite able to pull it off live as well as they might on recordings; with too much banter between each onslaught and the perceived need to introduce every track hinders the overall flow of the set somewhat. Despite the first appearance of some serious pits, the lack of continuity and some overused tricks by the frontman distract from their abundant technicality.

It is clear that despite the tour being marketed as a whole package, the majority of the audience are here to witness the triumphant return of EVERY TIME I DIE. Following the release of the disappointing ‘Ironiclast’ by Keith Buckley supergroup The Damned Things, the anticipation levels have had considerable time to grow. The Electric Ballroom is at boiling point as the quintet deliver thirteen rock powerhouses. With a setlist taken heavily from their second and third LPs (‘Hot Damn!’ and ‘Gutter Phenomenon’ respectively), there are only a few hints at the more overt southern rock style that they have portrayed in recent years. Regardless, EVERY TIME I DIE are one of the underground heroes of hardcore, and tonight this accolade is well deserved. For those new to the band, the setlist may have caused some alienation, yet one look into the crowd and it is clear that the majority don’t have time to care. For an audience filled with die-hard fans, this is hardcore at its best.