I really don't think there is a way to put into the words the amount of fun and utter chaos that occurred at this show, but I will attempt to do so during this review.
This show started bright and early at 5 due to the Royale being a nightclub. California's No Bragging Rights had the honor of kicking off the night. I didn't know a thing about them prior to this show so I pleasantly surprised by how enjoyable their set was. Their sound is equal parts hardcore and post-hardcore with plenty of catchy riffs, breakdowns and energy to go around. I also admired their message as a band. Their vocalist was sincere when he was talking in between songs about dealing with depression, abuse, etc and was never even close to preachy. No Bragging Rights was a quality opener and they have all the makings of a band set to explode on the post-hardcore/hardcore scene.
Hundredth hit the stage next. I just starting listening to these guys about a month ago so I was intrigued to see them live and they didn't disappoint. They remind me a lot of The Ghost Inside musically and much like them, Hundredth's melodic hardcore style is especially good in a live setting. They have a nice contrast between melodic riffing and the raw intensity of old-school hardcore. It also helps that their singer was completely nuts running all over the stage only stopping to spit up in the air every couple minutes. The new song they played was very good and I'm excited to hear their new EP when it comes out next week. Hundredth is another up-and-coming band to look out for on the hardcore scene in the next couple years.
Vanna played next. I wasn't really looking forward to their set because I'm not a fan of their studio material so naturally I wasn't expecting much from them. Let's just say I ended up being proven dead wrong. That being said, it was essentially a tale of two sets for these guys. The first half of their set was pretty mediocre and in line with what I expected from them. Musically they were just alright and the crowd was pretty tame (especially for a hometown show). Somewhere around the fourth song though all hell broke loose and things took a thing for the drastically better. The band and crowd just started going off and things got rowdy really fast. The bassist jumped in the crowd, the guitarist started throwing water bottles into the crowd (he was whipping them really far and even nailed some dude square in the face with one. I think the Jets should give him a look to be Mark Sanchez's replacement, the dude's got a cannon and he's deadly accurate), and someone even legitimately stole the mic from their vocalist at the end of "We Ate the Horse You Rode In On". The chaos all culminated during set closer "Trashmouth" when the stage was flooded with non-stop stage divers and the band just completely lost their shit. I have never seen a bigger display of pure, unadulterated bedlam at a show in my entire life. I had to pick my the pieces of my jaw off the floor after the song was over. The explosiveness of the second half of their set took their set from the bowels of mediocrity to infectiously enjoyable. The one beef I had with their set was their vocalist's banter in between songs. Save for Adam Warren from Oceano, I have never heard a bigger load of faux-tough guy bullshit in my life. Everything that came out of his mouth was so corny and was basally telling the crowd to beat the shit out of each each other for no reason. Clearly I've never actually met the guy, but judging from his stage presence the guy is a complete tool. Overall though Vanna's set was one of the most surprisingly enjoyable and chaotic sets I've ever seen.
Fellow Massachusetts act The Acacia Strain was up next. I've seen them five times now and they were as enjoyable as ever. The last time I saw them at New England Metal and Hardcore Festival last year their sound was god awful and it dragged the set down substantially, but thankfully that was not the case last night. I always manage to undersell how heavy they are in a live setting, these guys are incredibly heavy live. As expected, the crowd responded very well to their set (especially "Whoa! Shut It Down", "Dr. Doom", and of course, "JFC") and vocalist Vincent Bennett was very appreciative of the hometown fans. I really like Vincent Bennett's stage presence. He does say some some things I don't completely agree with about how dark the world is and such, but he is also hilarious and genuinely appreciates the fans of the band. He also pointed out that this was only their third time playing in Boston in 10+ years as a band which surprised the hell out of me and I can happily say that I've seen every one of their performances in the city of Boston. The Acacia Strain was their typical heavy and energetic selves and I loved every minute of it.
Every Time I Die wrapped up the evening. I had seen Every Time I Die twice before at Warped Tour 2010 and 2012, but last night might as well have been the first time because the first two times I saw them don't hold a candle to the spectacle that was their performance last night. The amount of intensity and passion from the crowd and the band was just incredible. From the minute "Floater" started to when 75% of the crowd was on stage with the band for set closer "Indian Giver" (vocalist Keith Buckley climbed on top of the amps and performed the song from there just so more people could get on stage.), the crowd was in a complete frenzy feeding off of the colossal stage presence and energy that Every Time I Die gives off. Adding to the energy being given off from everyone in the room was the incredible setlist that Every Time I Die played. The set was loaded with material from their newest (and best in my opinion ) record Ex Lives, which absolutely kills in a live setting. "I Suck (Blood)", "Underwater Bimbos from Outer Space", and "Typical Miracle" were crushingly heavy live while the aforementioned "Indian Giver" made for an epic, mid-paced closer that closed off the night in grand fashion. The presence of "Wanderlust" in the set made me extremely excited as well, It's one of my favorite Every Time I Die songs an I had been waiting to hear it live for years and I was stoked it was in the set. Keith Buckley also impressed the hell of out of me vocally. His screams are far more intense live and his clean vocals are absolutely pitch-perfect. Besides impressing vocally, Buckley also made me laugh frequently. The funniest moments of the show were when he stopped and restarted "Bored Stiff" because some guy did an awful stage dive (the dude pretty much just fell off the stage and Keith said he hoped someone filmed so the worst stage dive in the history of music was documented) and when he was trying to convince the audience to break a net full of balloons that were on the ceiling of the venue by saying there was a dollar in every single one of them (someone didn't tie the knot properly on one of the bags so there were balloons sporadically flying around the whole show which was hilarious and awesome.) I honestly can't fully describe with words how great this performance was, it was an almost euphoric experience. Every Time I Die brought down the house last night and has clinched a spot as one of my favorite live bands of all-time. I expected this show to be enjoyable, but I didn't expect it to be such a downright crazy and fun time with excellent performances from every band on the bill.
No Bragging Rights 7/10
The Acacia Strain 8/10
Every Time I Die 10/10
12/27 Four Year Strong
1/25 August Burns Red
1/31 Machine Head