TID THE SEASON ’21
EVERY TIME I DIE
12.10.21 DAY 1
REVIEW AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY NATHAN KATSIAFICAS
Tis the season for holiday shows, and we may have caught the biggest and heaviest one this year at Buffalo native’s Every Time I Die’s annual two day show Tid the Season—also known to the most diehard of ETID fans (aka Etidiots) as “Shitmas.” Held at a repurposed grain mill turned venue Buffalo Riverworks, this year’s lineup for the shows on December 10th and 11th was absolutely stacked with a variety of acts spanning several different genres—from hardcore acts like END and Knocked Loose, to post-hardcore act Circa Survive, hip-hop OG Ice T, and more—there was something for everyone to love!
The venue itself was decked out in holiday lights, complete with Every Time I Die’s all seeing “I” logo lit up in green and red. In honor of the occasion, local brewery Thin Man released a lager Then We War! named for a line in the band’s track “All This And War” off of their latest release Radical. Additionally local artisan Oxford Pennant had a booth set up full of Every Time I Die patches and seamstresses onsite sewing them onto fans’ clothing while they waited. Truly, it was an Etidiot’s paradise.
TID THE SEASON – DAY 1
Night one of Tid the Season kicked off in the afternoon on Friday with a long line of eager fans ready to get in. The night’s festivities started with a bang, with a performance from punk duo ‘68. Guitarist and vocalist Josh Scogin warned the audience that things were about to get loud as he launched into their set, telling them, “Cover your ears and hold onto your butts!”
‘68 is a band that translates much better live than they do on recordings. Scogin and his bandmate (drummer) Nikko Yamada, while both quite talented musically are absolutely nuts live, with Scogin careening and stomping his way around the stage, and Yamada more or less playing out real life Animal from the Muppets. This was performance art, not just music, and the crowd ate up every minute of it.
After this opening salvo, the barrage of high-octane performances continued as Texas hardcore act Kublai Khan emerged to unleash a punishing set. The band’s music, harkening back to 90s metallic hardcore, got the crowd moving and opened up the first mosh pits of the night with one of the most hilarious mosh calls—one that is likely not fit for publishing here! If you have yet to catch them live, you can see Kublai Khan on tour with Knocked Loose next spring.
Things then took a turn from the heavy to a strange reprieve. Definitely the odd band out on this night, Mariachi El Bronx gave a set not of punk rock as many of the same musicians would the next night (performing as The Bronx), but of mariachi music. Seeing frontman Matt Caughthran crooning instead of leaping around the stage was jarring, but it was a great set of live music, even if it was a complete change of pace.
Unfortunately, due to a last minute Covid positive test, Poison the Well announced they were dropping off the lineup the previous day. So instead, fans were treated to Buffalo 90’s hardcore act Buried Alive—featuring none other than Scott Vogel of Terror on vocals. Having reformed in 2020, this was the band’s biggest show back, playing before a sold out venue with some 5,000 people in attendance, and they were incredible! Vogel and his bandmates were so impeccably tight, it’s no wonder that the members of Every Time I Die are such fans of them. My only complaint is that I wish the set was longer!
Circa Survive came forth for the final supporting set of the night. Frontman Anthony Green was spot-on as the band blasted through a 10 song set that had a little bit of everything discography-wise, from “Imposter Syndrome,” and “Drift” off of their latest release, A Dream About Love, to “Stop the Fu*king Car,” and “The Difference Between Medicine and Poison Is the Dose,” off of their first two full-lengths, just to name a few. There were definitely some Circa Survive fans in attendance, judging from the volume of crowd participation, be it sing-alongs or crowd surfing, especially for set closer “Get Out” from 2010’s Blue Sky Noise.
A curtain dropped with a roaring fireplace projected onto it and the stage changeover for Every Time I Die began, hidden from view. The mood in the venue was electric as fans eagerly awaited the first of two headlining sets from the band that would take place between then and early Sunday morning. At last, with the opening notes and opening line—echoed by a thousand or more voices—“Spare only the ones I love, slay the rest!” from Radical album opener “Dark Distance” ringing out, the curtain fell, and all hell broke loose.
If you haven’t seen an Every Time I Die hometown show, it’s even more high-energy than normal (which is already a high bar). Considering that this crowd was comprised entirely of Every Time I Die devotees, you may understand why words fail to convey the sheer passion ricocheting between the band and audience, swelling hundredfold throughout the night. If there was any friction to be had between band members as recent public tweets may have led folks to believe, it was not apparent at any moment on this night or the next. As the band maneuvered their way through a 26 song set, they paused only briefly to smile and at times gape at how intensely the crowd was singing their lyrics back at them, crowd surfing, and moshing. Guitarist Jordan Buckley was in his usual form, leaping and thrashing around the stage as he and fellow guitarist Andy Williams strummed a cacophony of delicious dissonance.
In the past, I had seen great performances from the band, especially frontman Keith Buckley, but he sounded flawless on this evening, be it on newer material like, “Post-Boredom,” “The Whip,” and “Planet Shit,” or fan favorites like “The Coin Has a Say,” “Floater,” “Ebolarama,” and “We’rewolf.” The deeper cuts would come tomorrow, as Friday evening was a night for the hits. As they had been doing for their run of tour dates leading up to this, Every Time I Die was joined by Scogin, reprising his guest spot on Radical track “All This and War.” The night’s revelry at Riverworks ended with that, but would continue at numerous dives in downtown Buffalo for many into the wee hours of the morning.