Written and Photographed by Killian O’Neil
The crisp fall air whipped my face as I opened the door to the Brooklyn Bowl this past Friday. It was Halloween weekend, the Phillies are in the World Series, and I was about to see The Early November. Life was good, to say the least. Never had I been to this venue, so I was eager to see what all the hype was about. Once you enter, there are stairs to the right, which take you up to the bar and stage. The venue is dimly lit with string lights lining the ceiling and is riddled with couches and seating.
As I walked in, the opener was already on stage, ripping away on his acoustic guitar. The crowd was highly attentive and engaged, which is rare for an opener. They seemed even to know some of his music and sang along. Vinnie’s sound was something I’d never really heard before. Picture this, if folk and bluegrass had a baby with pop-punk, that’s precisely what Vinnie sounded like. Unfortunately, he played only a handful of songs before exiting the stage.
The crowd awaited the next band, I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody’s Business, Ace Ender‘s other band aside from “The Early November. After about fifteen minutes, the lights started to move, and the band filed onto the stage. Ace was accompanied by another guitar player and a drummer when he walked out. From start to finish, the crowd was warm and welcoming as the audience’s empty spaces started to fill in. Their smooth sound made you want to melt into the lights when they hit you. Their sound is a hundred percent acoustic vs. the heavier sounds that the early November puts out. Midway through the set, Ace stopped and started talking about music. He was saying how “this type of music started in basements and gyms” and how “you put your heart into everything that you do and let that drive you and let that be your moral compass be what you’re putting out and giving out to another person and you leave these little pieces of your heart all over the place and to give it every single little thing that you got and in those dark times those little seeds that you planted of heart will shine, and every single time I’ve said I don’t want to do this or I can’t do this someone has come up to me said something like I was addicted to drugs until I heard this song and it saved my life. That’s what matters, what we create and the community that we created so many years ago, and I’m not speaking of just me. I’m speaking of the whole entire scene as a whole, and thank you for supporting such an amazing thing for so many decades”. At that point, there was electricity in the air, and everyone knew it. You didn’t feel like you were just one person at that moment. You felt like you were a part of something bigger. After that, he brought his daughter on stage to play a song and then sang happy birthday to the rest of the kids. You could tell it was a “hometown” show because the families were present that night. Once all that was over with, they exited the stage, and TEN were up next.
It seemed like it took years for them to finally come out. During the set break, the radio played emo/pop punk favorites. At one point, I almost forgot I was at a TEN show, but The Startling Line show because of how the crowd was singing along.
Without warning, they came out and started playing music, not saying a word, just straight into “Money in His Hand,” which is off the album The Mother, The Mechanic, The Path. It was heavy hitting and exactly how I remembered them. Everyone else must have felt it, too, with how they responded. They chose to play two songs from each of their earlier records. Which made the most sense seeing as this was a 20th-Anniversary Show. The set included all the hits and songs that only diehard fans would know about. The band was playing with everything they got and more; this was only the 3rd show of this tour. You could, however, tell that something was off with the sound. I’m not sure if it was just the speakers or the sound guy, but it wasn’t accessible at points to make out the vocals. Somebody turned the drums and guitar way up, and the lyrics seemed to get drowned out. It wasn’t for every song, but it was present. They ended the night with ever so sweet, apparently their most played song ever, according to Ace. Properly The Early November came back for an encore with “Call Off the Bells,” “I Want to Hear You Sad,” “Over My shoulder,” and “Every Night Another Story.” It was a show that Philly has been aching for, and finally, that thirst has been quenched.
The Early November
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