2000trees: Every Time I Die

2000trees: Every Time I Die

By Liam Knowles

Aug 19, 2019 9:00

I first heard Every Time I Die in 2003 whilst on holiday with my family in Florida. I wandered into Hot Topic - which, if you don’t know, is basically like a chain store version of that stall on the market that sells stuff for moshers - and the guy working there clocked my Poison The Well tee and asked if I had heard of ETID. When I told him I hadn’t, he told me to go immediately to the record store next door and buy a copy of ‘Hot Damn!’, which had come out that week.

When we got back to where we were staying, I jammed the CD in my Discman (yes, I know I’m old) and hit play. The opening screech and drum fill that leads into ‘Romeo A Go-Go’ completely took my face off and I was immediately hooked. I’d never heard anything like it. It was vaguely in the vein of the metalcore and hardcore I already knew, but it had a sneering sense of rock and roll swagger I’d never heard in those genres before. And the lyrics! Good lord, every single track on that album had at least one line that I considered getting tattooed in old English across my collarbone – as was the style at the time. The day I bought that album, an obsession was born.

About two years ago, after continuing to adore Every Time I Die and seeing them live countless times since that Hot Topic encounter, I joined a Facebook group dedicated to the band. These self-named ‘ETIDiots’ were so friendly and welcoming that meeting up with some of them at the upcoming UK tour seemed like an absolute no-brainer. Meeting up with strangers off the internet isn’t something you usually do in your 30s but there I was, sitting in a corridor in Manchester, drinking lukewarm tinnies and chatting shit while a few people got Every Time I Die tattoos in the room next door. Probably not the best idea considering the show was only a few hours away, but that’s by the by. I knew straight away that these were good people, but never expected to make friends for life as I have done, or go to shows all over the country with them, or travel from the UK to Buffalo, New York with these people for the ETID Christmas show, or fall in love with one of them. I never expected any of that, but life is full of surprises.

When the 2000trees announcement came, and we saw that ETID were going to be playing ‘Hot Damn!’ in full, a large group of us organised to go and make a weekend of it. We had people from all over the UK, as well as a few people who travelled from the USA for it, camped together in a little ETIDiot commune. We had many laughs, many MANY drinks, and watched loads of bands together – but there was one set that mattered far more than any other.

Every Time I Die got up on stage on the Saturday night, hammering immediately into ‘Romeo A Go-Go’ and I was instantly transported back to that rush of adrenaline that I felt back in 2003. The crowd, as you would expect, absolutely exploded with energy as Keith Buckley roared his way through that blistering opening track. The whole area in front of the stage was a vortex of people; a swirling mass of moshers and crowdsurfers that didn’t stop moving at any point while the band was playing. Iconic tracks like ‘Ebolarama’ and ‘Floater’ were received rapturously, but the real treat was hearing the deep cuts like ‘Off Broadway’, ‘She’s My Rushmore’, and ‘Hit Of The Search Party’. These tracks haven’t been played live for years, and current ETID drummer Clayton ‘Goose’ Holyoak has never played them before, but that didn’t stop them sounding absurdly tight, and since ETID have evolved and beefed-up their sound a lot over the years, they also hit much harder live than they do on record.

Following the ‘Hot Damn!’ set, a brief interlude caused by technical difficulties gave us all a chance to breathe before diving straight back into the pit for a sort of greatest hits set, made up of anthems like ‘We’rewolf’, ‘Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space’ and ‘The New Black’. Songs from the most recent album, 2016’s incredible ‘Low Teens’, also made an appearance, with ‘It Remembers’ showing the band’s more nuanced side and ‘The Coin Has A Say’ showing that they still know how to write a chaotic rager more than two decades into their career. As the band closed out their set with ‘Map Change’, you could hear voices ringing the chorus into the air long after they had finished playing. It could not be clearer how much Every Time I Die means to a lot of people, not just to our little community.

Our community, however, had a different response to ‘Map Change’ than most. If you were at 2000trees and saw a load of people in Hawaiian shirts crying their eyes out near the front of the stage, that was us. Recently our group has experienced quite a bit of loss, including losing one of the UK members – and a close friend of us all – to suicide. That song holds a special place for all of us who want to keep the memories of our loved ones alive. When I spoke earlier about things I didn’t expect, attending a funeral with a load of people off the internet wasn’t something I saw coming. That said, the friendship and support that has come out of these hard times has been nothing short of breathtaking, and it would have been so much harder to deal with had we not all been there for each other, checking in and making sure everyone has everyone else’s back. I know it’s an old cliché that music brings people together but seeing these support structures created, and this overwhelming sense of community and family come out of nothing but a shared love of one band, is truly awe-inspiring.

So thank you, Every Time I Die. Thank you for continuing to make some of the most hard-hitting, innovative, intelligent and exciting heavy music in the world. Thank you for bringing joy to so many people over the last 20+ years. Thank you for bringing my group of weirdos together and allowing us to be a positive influence in each other’s lives. Thank you to Andy Williams for jumping straight off stage to come and make sure we were alright, for speaking to us about loss and the importance of supporting each other, and for coming to see us at our campsite later to check in on us again. We appreciate that hands-on approach more than you could possibly know. My friends and I know that whatever hardships we might face, we have each other, and Every Time I Die can claim full responsibility for that.

“Though it may haunt us and break our hearts, death cannot tear us apart.”