The return of The Early November
Published: Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
Any pair of black-rimmed glasses that wasn’t at the Metro, Tuesday, May 29 was in the minority. Seemingly every Chicagoan that was victim to the emo label circa 2004 was out that night to catch New Jersey emo/pop-punk outfit The Early November. This was the band’s first time back in Chicago after an almost five-year hiatus.
Though the show was all ages, the Metro floor was packed tightly with young twenty-somethings reviving their musical tendencies of high school. Although there was a surprisingly strong showing for the third opening act, who played directly before the headliners, The Wonder Years.
Immediately following the Philadelphia six-piece punk band’s first steps on stage, the crowd gave a shove. The shove quickly transformed into a full-scale mosh pit in the middle of the floor. The kind of violent mosh pit you didn’t realize people still did, from a crowd of people you didn’t realize were still willing to do it.
The fast-tempo punk with nonstop off beats on drums and alternating vocals of singing and screaming was fragmented by gracious words and deep insight from singer Dan Campbell.
It was more than refreshing to experience a punk band truly more concerned with playing music and putting something behind it than a pretty, polished band singing about girls and looking to sell records (did someone say Hot Chelle Rae?).
The crowd showed its appreciation via crowd surfers angrily shouting lyrics while hurling themselves face-first toward Campbell’s microphone. Because clapping and hollering wouldn’t have been the same.
The stage was prepped for The Early November with three carefully placed lamps on speakers. Singer Ace Enders played an acoustic track with the soft glowing lamps before the rest of the group joined him to bring the energy up with “Decorations.”
The crowd was no longer a mosh pit, as TEN doesn’t quite call for that. The floor moved and people sang. However, the occasional crowd surfer was met with a smile that Enders could never quite fully stifle.
Between apologies for being away for so long, the band catered mostly to the twenty-somethings who are more familiar with decade-old tracks off 2002’s “For All Of This” and 2003’s “The Room’s Too Cold” than 2006’s “The Mother, The Mechanic and The Path.” In this vein, TEN gave the crowd the more popular songs like “I Want To Hear You Sad” and the band’s definitive, half-acoustic “Ever So Sweet.”
Surprisingly, 30-year-old Enders has just as strong of vocal chords as he did as a teenager just starting TEN. He’s a little raspier these days, but his voice has unbelievable control, and every long note was held out unwaveringly. The rest of the group was also surprisingly spritely in their presentation (save for drummer Jeff Kummer, who couldn’t make it due to his “real-life” job). The encore ended with “Every Night’s Another Story,” a performance that had guitarist Joe Marro jumping and shuffling, and bassist Sergio Anello spinning his guitar around and eventually climbing the speaker tower and jumping into a largely unsuspecting crowd. Even the politely good-natured Enders was on the edge of the stage shouting into the front rows of fans.
It seems the time off has served The Early November well. This was no reunion show. This was the start of a new chapter.