There are bands out there that are a cannot miss bands when they are on tour and coming to your city.  Every Time I Die is one of those bands that is always on my must see list and to say I was excited for their show at Bottom Lounge on 5/14 would be a huge understatement.  With their last album “Low Teens” being one of my favorite albums they have put out and also bringing on some great support for the tour, I knew this night could possibly be the night the Bottom Lounge crumbled to the ground due to the sheer force this show would bring.

God Alone was the local support for the night.  They are made up of Mike H, Kyle S, Quinn B, Phil B and are self-described as “Bluesy post punk from the bottom of Lake Michigan” which to me was a perfect description after watching their set.  The vibe and sound that was given off by God Alone was one of Black Flag in the days of their album “My War” and “Slip It In” due to the Henry Rollins style of spoken word and dirty vocals to go along with it.  I was very impressed with the band and I am looking forward to seeing them more as they continue to grow and put out more music.  In the meantime, you can enjoy the bands EP “Low Fire” and check out my favorite song from the set North Through The Woods.

Up next was 68 and I’ll admit, I love Josh Scogin, but I didn’t know how I was going to feel coming into this show as it has been very hard for me to get into his new band 68.  However, as 68 moved through the set Josh was able to win my heart like he usually does in any music project he produces.  If you haven’t heard of 68, it is made up of just Josh Scogin(guitar/vocals) and Michael McClellan(drums) and they have somehow figured out how to put out some bluesy southern punk rock as I’ve decided to call their sound.  If it’s one thing these guys know how to do, it’s entertain.  Moving through they’re set we were treated with guitar throws, powerful cymbal crashes, and some fun banter in between songs.  I’m looking forward to hearing 68’s new album when it comes out and you can check out their new single The Workers Are Few which will be on their 2nd album “Two Parts Viper” due out June 2nd.

Next to the stage and one of the biggest reasons I was most excited for this night was Wage War.  I found out about this band about 2 years ago when their debut album came out titled “Blueprints” and was able to first see them on the 2016 run on Warped Tour.  I had not yet seen them in a club and was heavily anticipating what they would sound like in an indoor venue.  Wage War is made up of Briton Bond (vocals), Seth Blake (Lead Guitar), Cody Quistad (guitar/clean vocals), Chris Gaylord (Bass), and Stephen Luesener(drums).  The boys of Ocala, FL took to the stage and immediately opened with their new single Stitch, which will be on their 2nd album titled “Deadweight” due out August 4th.  I felt this was the perfect opener as it sounds like it will be one of the heaviest songs off of the new album and I was right when seeing the a mosh pit open up.  As they moved through they’re set playing some of my favorite songs such as The River and 21, I couldn’t help but be blown away by how tight the band was instrumentally and how powerful all the vocals were.  I was a bit disappointed that the crowd didn’t go as wild as I thought they would, but Chicago is known to be a heavy Every Time I Die crowd and were most likely anticipating that set to start.  That however, had no effect on me as I took in the rest of Wage War’s set and sang each song for the rest of their time on stage.  If they come back to Chicago, which I would think is a headlining tour,  I will no doubt be at whatever venue they decide to play.  Check out the new single Stitch below and pre-order their new album “Deadweight” using the links in the video.

Now to the stage were the legends known as Every Time I Die and you could feel the anticipation of the crowd as the bands gear was being set up.  Now, I’m not going to sit here and say I’m a die-hard fan or loved every single song or album they have put out, but I will say I have never been disappointed with a live performance of theirs and this night was no different.  As always Jordan Buckley, Andy Williams, and Stephen Micciche were demons on guitar and bass, Daniel Davison beat the hell out of his drum set, and Keith Buckley’s vocals were not of this earth.  The set list was beyond perfect which included The New Black, We’rewolf, Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space(my personal favorite and crowd surfed for), Decayin With The Boys, and Glitches.  Out of all these great songs, the one that stood out to me the most was Map Change which is off their newest record “Low Teens” and there were a few reasons why it stood out.  The first one being the vocal performance by Keith was incredible, with the amount of vocal variations in this song I did not know how it was going to sound.  To describe it in one word, perfect.  The second reason being that with the amount of tempo changes in this song, it was incredible to see a veteran band like this just be the professionals that they are and hit every single note perfectly and in time with each other.  A thing of beauty if you ask me.  When the set ended, I came away with an even bigger appreciation for this band than I already had and have not been able to move away from their discography in the following days of the show.  Check out Map Changes below and make sure to pick up a copy of “Low Teens” as I believe it is the best album they have ever put out.

-Eric Neyhart

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