LIVE: Every Time I Die / Comeback Kid / Knocked Loose / Higher Power @ KOKO, London

By Christopher Lee

Just in time for the inevitable ‘gig of the year’ debate, comes this absolutely insane show headed by Buffalo hardcore heavyweights Every Time I Die. If you’ve been to an Every Time I Die show before you’ll know just how crazy things can get and this time around they’ve brought along some of the heaviest bands around: Comeback Kid, Knocked Loose and Higher Power. It’s a surprise that London’s KOKO is still standing after this.

Leeds’ premier hardcore outfit Higher Power are first on the bill and, having already had a huge year with the release of their album ‘Soul Structure’, set the perfect tone for the evening. With their set time being 18:00 you might expect the venue to still be desolate, but those making their way to the floor are greeted by the brutal yet melodic sound that only the Yorkshire lads can deliver. Those who have made it down early feed on the energy provided and tracks like ‘Can’t Relate’ see utter chaos ensue. One band down, three to go and at this rate it’ll be a miracle if the crowd have anything left in them by the time Every Time I Die grace the stage.

There’s barely time to breathe before Kentucky’s finest Knocked Loose hit the stage with zero intention of providing respite for the faithful fans as they turn the evening’s dial up a notch in blistering style. Riff after riff, and thunderous vocals, hit the crowd like a tsunami, crashing and consuming everything in sight. As the band lay waste to this wonderful venue the crowd grows at a steady rate and those witnessing Knocked Loose upon entry are simply blown away. Half way through this epic line up and there’s absolutely no sign of things slowing down in any way, shape or form.

The penultimate band of the night is none other than Canadian hardcore come punks Comeback Kid. Now in their seventeenth year, they certainly know their way around a stage and boy do they deliver. Even with a number of new tracks placed throughout the set, the now-packed KOKO laps up every drop, every riff, every chorus as the band pour their heart and soul into every track like it was the first time they’d ever played a show. When the inevitable sweet tones of ‘Wake the Dead’ signal the end of their set it’s almost with regret, but luckily the best is yet to come.

Every Time I Die never fail to deliver anything but pure unbridled chaos and if you thought the crowd would be spent after witnessing three incredible displays already, you’d be wrong. Front-man Keith Buckley announces “we’re here to fuck you up”, unleashing the beast that is Every Time I Die to an instant mosh pit which engulfs the entirety of the venue floor. As the band smash through track after track there’s absolutely no time to think; better to simply lose your mind and embrace everything they stand for.

Covering a set-list of twenty-plus songs is as insane as this whole night has been, and the guys even manage to pull Frank Turner and Knocked Loose’s Bryan Garris out for guest spots respectively. But what’s more impressive is guitarist Jordan Buckley who, even with a broken foot, manages to set the stage alight and also some of the speakers as he climbs atop them. When the dust settles on this show – which, believe us, will take a while – it’ll seem a miracle that the old, beautiful venue that is KOKO still stands. It will be a long time before a line up as heavy as this graces a stage like this again. This has been undoubtedly one of the best shows of the year, if not the best, and those lucky enough to be in attendance should consider themselves blessed.