Words & Photos by Amber James

Tid’ the Season was upon us, also known as Shitmas to the diehard fans.

It was December 15th. aka the best time of the year if you’re a heavy music fan located in Western NY or really anywhere in the United States or the world if you’re getting really technical.  From god knows how many different cities, thousands of Every Time I Die fans, lovingly referred to as ETIDiots, flocked for the yearly mecca in Buffalo, NY. After a semi-official final count, fans from at least thirty different states and far flung places such as Yorkshire, England, Germany and the Netherlands melded together for one of the best combinations of music, shenanigans and Christmas related events you’ll try to find.

Celebrating its fifteenth year, Every Time I Die’s annual Christmas extravaganza (because at this point it has become way more than a show), took place at Buffalo Riverworks for its second year. With a combination of a lineup that was to die for, curling and ice skating plus wrestling matches from Blackcraft Wrestling it was a full day event. Even at 11 am, two hours before doors, roughly at least a hundred people were already lined up outside the venue. And that doesn’t even include the scores of people hanging out at restaurants and bars in the area, getting in some pre-gaming beforehand as well.

The day started off with a Blackcraft Wrestling event that was being live streamed as well. You had Buffalo hometown boys like Kevin Blackwood and PUF the God wrestling in the opening match and who could forget the almighty Butcher and the Blade in the closing match. The crowd went into a rousing cheer as Andy Williams, one half of the team and ETID guitarist, took to the turnbuckle top ropes to celebrate their tag team win.

With a quick tear down of the ring, the line up for the day kicked off with Vein opening up the insanity for the day. They were followed by Angel Dust, Turnstile and Knocked Loose so the intensity never stopped. The Menzingers and The Bouncing Souls gave the lineup a little punk rock feel before Snapcase brought the heavy back as direct support for ETID.

It was time to prepare for the event most of the few thousand people gathered at Riverworks was there for. Every Time I Die’s Christmas set is a sort of ritual for some, as hundreds of hardcore ETID fans gather from across the world to embrace each other and their love for the band. You could say that it was easily a type of early Christmas for everyone.

A kabuki cloth stretched across the stage, the band emerged to open with fan favorite “Moor” with vocalist, Keith Buckley, singing the haunting start to the song. As the kabuki cloth drops, pyro shoots off from the front of the stage and the energy shoots up as high as the sparks. With the third song “Floater” kicking in, the maelstrom reaches a fever peak. If you’ve never been in the midst of a crowd or a pit at an ETID show, I can promise you it’s one of the most special types out there. It’s more an intermingling of giant groups of various friends picking each other up and chucking each other up to crowd surf then most crowds at shows.

The set list that the boys created is something of a masterpiece, pulling from nearly their entire discography and including something for each level of fan. With a twenty four song set list, there was something for everyone and you were guaranteed to hear at least ONE of your favorite songs.

Just about halfway through the set, one of what could be called an all time ETID classic began playing, “We’rewolf” one of the first massive singalongs of the night occurred. As Buckley yelled “You don’t live ’til you’re ready to die. Which one of you sons of bitches is going to make me feel alive? Which one of you mother fuckers is going to get inside my heart?” 3500 people yelled it right back. Honestly amazed at people’s energy still going strong through this entire day event, when “Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space” started, the ultimate classic ETID singalong started. Because, after all, who doesn’t want to be dead with their friends?

As this marathon of a night and set went on, the connection between the band and the crowd was palpable as they needed off each other. Between Buckley’s hair whips and brother Jordan Buckley’s and Steve Micciche’s bounding across the stage like gazelles with their jumps, you would be hard pressed to think they didn’t each have an Energizer bunny attached to the back of each of them, powering them along.

Towards the end of their set, their manager, Nick, came out on the stage for a surprise presentation. Little known to the band, but a representative from the Buffalo city government had passed a ruling that said December 15th would be known as Every Time I Die Day. The proclamation praised the band for their accomplishments over the past year, how quickly this year’s Riverworks show had sold out and how much they always represented the city of Buffalo in their travels. You could see the absolute shock and amazement on all the members’ faces as they found it hard to hide their true emotions about this event. Before they segued into more songs, Keith announced that next year there would be two days worth of Shitmas at Buffalo Riverworks, this announcement was met with a rousing cheer that would be similar to if the Sabres or the Bills made it into the playoffs.

However, all good things must come to an end, and a few songs later, it was time for the swan song of the evening. And what would be a more appropriate song to cap off the night with than with “Map Change”? Known for it living on at the last Warped Tour date as Jordan Buckley played its last chords until they were the only thing ringing out across the venue, it had also become another fan favorite. A song describing the despair but pride of living in Buffalo would be the perfect way to end the night. Towards the end of the song, as pyro and sparks reached for the ceiling and confetti rained down upon the crowd, both Buckley brothers came down onto the barricade and into the crowd. Keith met the crowd at the barricade, supported by numerous hands, engaging in a group singalong of sorts to finish out the song. Meanwhile, in typical Jordan Buckley fashion, he had launched himself and his guitar into the crowd and was being crowd surfed for all that he was worth. Even as the sparks died down and the last of the confetti fluttered to the ground, scores of supportive hands kept Jordan floating above the crowd.

Honestly, ETID Christmas shows are shows for the ages and each one is different and memorable in each its own way. This year, the band celebrated twenty years of being a band and fifteen years of doing their annual Christmas shows. Both of these being monumentous milestones for sure, especially in today’s music industry, who could even know what these boys could have planned up their sleeves for the two days next year? At the very least, you can expect it to be sold out months in advance with a killer lineup and hundreds of ETIDiots impatiently waiting for this weekend to roll around again.

Every Time I Die

The Menzingers

Author

I should've been born during the era of 80's glam rock. Pikachu whisperer. Live by the pickleback, die by the pickleback. Caffeine runs in my veins.

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