Every Time I Die Tattoo, Toronto ON, October 3

Every Time I Die Tattoo, Toronto ON, October 3
Photo: Kevin Jones
They say first impressions are everything, and Expire took the stage 45 minutes after their slated time. The swiftness with which they loaded in their gear straight onto the stage certainly softened the harshness of the crowd's impending judgment of the Milwaukee hardcore crew, whom many were seeing for the first time. The great thing about hardcore is that energy is basically a given, and given that the Midwest blood pumping through Expire is in the same vein of No Warning and their precursors, Madball, the songs were coursing with it.

Vocally, however, they didn't quite have the power that typically comes with yelling. Perhaps it was resultant of the long, no doubt frustrating drive or perhaps it was the fact that this last-minute show was their last on this tour, but vocalist Josh Kelting just didn't seem to care. It wasn't a derailing misstep, but for those who had seen Expire before, it was blatantly obvious that if he pushed his voice a little harder, the voice of the band could have matched the hearty stage mosh of his comrades.

Still, Expire served their purpose as they got the crowd hot. The sold-out Tattoo was pent up with anxious anticipation that burst through the floodgates when Every Time I Die's Keith Buckley started shouting, "I want to be dead with my friends," following a triumphantly symphonic introduction. "If There Is Room to Move, Things Move" was an apt follow-up, as the crowd took advantage of space left for a pit and anywhere the band's five members weren't playing to throw their bodies around the floor or off the stage; movement wasn't so much an option as imperative.

With the crowd fully wrapped around the band's collective fingers, ETID elicited what might be the loudest and proudest proclamation of, "Hey there girls, I'm a cunt," from both the male and female factions of the crow during "Bored Stiff," which the room was anything but. By the end of "Partying Is Such Sweet Sorrow," guitarist Jordan Buckley joined the crowd, springing backwards atop of them while hitting his final notes. His brother, vocalist Keith, followed the band's impressive opening salvo by pronouncing that this was the last day of the tour and he could not imagine it ending in a better way.

After a few more songs, including "The Marvelous Slut" and "Old Light," during which Keith pulled off Brian Fallon's guest vocal parts with seeming ease, the praise of Toronto continued. The frontman proclaimed Toronto as good as Buffalo in terms of people and bands, shouting out Alexisonfire, Cancer Bats, New Day Rising and Grade.

The opener from their latest LP From Parts Unknown was a shock to the system on the album, but live it was even more so with its ravenously repeated refrain of "Blow your fucking brains out." Their classic Hot Damn! album finally got representation, with a rousing performance of "Romeo A Go-Go" sating appetites for the oldies before Keith quenched his own "Thirst" by accepting an offered beer by a fan perched atop the crowd singing along. After finishing his line, the Buckley brother pounded back the beer, while holding the mic out for benefactor to continue the song.

The band inquired who had never seen them before and after a show of hands revealed the answer, they welcomed the newbies to "the cool guys club." "The New Black" was followed by "Floater" and the suddenly all-too-topical "Ebolarama," which ETID insisted "is the stage-dive anthem of your fucking lifetime." The crowd seemed to agree.

Proclaiming themselves as celebrity matchmakers by virtue of reuniting an audience member with an errant shoe, the Buffalo boys matched the Toronto crowd with a special performance of "No Son of Mine," added into the set because it was going so well. "El Dorado" gave way to "We'rewolf," with Jordan vigorously windmilling his arm in circles every chance he got, while his partner-in-riffs Andy Williams was a rock, holding down the chaotic fort.

"Idiot" was supposed to be the last song, but Keith and a backing piano gave the crowd a bit "Moor" Every Time I Die as an encore that was closed out by "Indian Giver," during which the stage filled with what seemed like half the audience, singing along and hanging from the rafters. By the time it was over, Every Time I Die had answered their own previously-posed question of whether playing Toronto a lot would result in the metropolis getting sick of the metalcore troupe. The answer, given this show, is a resounding no.

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