Gig Reviews

Every Time I Die, The Acacia Strain & The Word Alive, Manning Bar – 26/09/2011

How awkward is it waiting for a band to start? Standing there staring at the same people for 40 minutes after doors … though I knew this show would be worth it. It’s not the first time I’ve waited for Every Time I Die, or The Acacia Strain at that and with the addition of The Word Alive losing their Australian virginity, I knew my patience would pay off.

Hailing from Phoenix, Arizona, The Word Alive came out so suddenly it almost caught everyone off guard. I couldn’t help but think this would be a very hard crowd to warm up, a hall full of metal heads, and I can’t say The Word Alive lived up to the challenged. The cliché here is to say the crowd didn’t know what to do with the band, but in this case they knew what to do, they just plan and simply didn’t like it. Lead singer Tyler ‘Telle’ Smith who came awfully close to losing the use of his legs after bombing a back flip attempt, tried with little success to gather a crowd and get a pit going, and surely enough, into the last half of the set, once they had warmed up, gotten the kinks out of the gear, a pit began to form. Now falling just short of an unprofessional rant, The Word Alive were plagued with instrument dramas and pitch troubles in front of a stubborn crowd for their whole set, though to their credit they didn’t back down; they kept up a high energy show and seemed to be having great fun playing in such a distant land … albeit in front of about 10 people.

It was now time for The Acacia Strain. No strangers to our shore, the crowd was full of faces filled with angst-ish happiness. They knew what was in store for them. Frontman Vincent Bennett gave us all a warning “I’m in a bad mood. I’m going to take it out on you” and with the chuggy, unmistakable Acacia Strain guitar (even though there were two guitarists this time) they opened with Beast while demonstrating their technical prowess and their total lack of nerves. With an extra member on guitar, the stage seemed so full and it worked in their favour as there was so much going on, you were never really sure whom to watch! Picking and choosing songs from all of their releases, it was a great way for fans to catch classics like Dr. Doom and Passing The Pencil Test as well as see some of the more recent tunes, such as The Hills Have Eyes and the aforementioned Beast. For a band that openly promotes so much hate and negativity, TAS sure did receive a lot of love; everyone knew all the words and the right times to jump. Even Bennett struggled to keep his brutish public persona, taking time to thank everyone for their support.

Every Time I Die came out to a packed room of screaming fans. There was no way they were going to disappoint anyone. Busting out with their unique style of brutal southern hardcore sexiness, Every Time I Die were animals on stage. I’ve never seen such reckless disregard for equipment and band mates, but god damn, it was awesome. After One Quarter Of A Revolution was first and set the mood perfectly. Pure brutal. Jordan Buckley on guitar managed to throw and catch his $5000+ Les Paul guitar not only once but twice, while fellow guitarist Andy Williams stood still like some sort of Royal guard meets the Hulk. We’rewolf, Bored Stiff, She’s My Rushmore, one after another they played crowd favorites note for note while running round like mad men. Vocalist Keith Buckley showed no fear in front of the packed in crowd, almost unaware of the chaos beneath him. With impeccable stage presence and playful banter with the crowd, not to mention shrugging off the stage divers, this may have been the best set I’ve ever seen. When they walked off stage, the set felt so incomplete, and we all KNEW the encore was coming, and sure enough it did, finishing up the night with as much class and style as these guys had with Kill The Music

After such an overwhelmingly positive response from the crowd (who had already showed how tough they are willing to be on bands they don’t like), these boys will be back again soon and I strongly recommend everyone goes – they’ll be worth the wait.


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