By Josh Justice
On a brisk night in the heart of Detroit, The Shelter (the basement of St. Andrew’s Hall) came alive. The Shelter has a rich history, most notably being the launching point for Eminem’s infamous rap battles. But tonight’s show was much more quaint, mellow, and serene; the basement of an old church seemed the perfect setting for the intimate show that was in store for the night.
With only a few dates left on the tour, none of the bands showed any sign of fatigue and gave the emo Motown crowd everything they had. Getting things kicked off were New Jersey natives OWEL. Lead singer Jay Sakong opened the evening with No Parachutes and I Saw Red from their latest album Paris. The New Jerseyans sprinkled in Too Young to Fall in Love off of their 2016 sophomore release Dear Me and ventured back to their debut self-titled album with Snowglobe.
When I told the crew at HeadrushTV I wanted to cover this show, I was told I was in for a treat with the next band on the bill, Have Mercy. And they lived up to their hype. With songs like This Old Ark and Coexist on their setlist, Brian Swindle made the most of the set; bringing the raw emo/alt rock passion of seasoned veterans with the heart of a band trying to prove something. Spanning tracks from their earliest studio album The Earth Pushed Back to their latest release The Love Life, Have Mercy could have performed an arena-sized set to a drive-bar sized crowd.
I first started listening to The Early November when The Mother, The Mechanic, The Path was in the listening station at the Borders I worked at. My exposure to the genre has always been limited, mainly listening to the more mainstream bands like Straylight Run and Taking Back Sunday. But something about that album and where I was in life resonated so deeply. Vocalist Arthur “Ace” Enders and crew lead their set with A Stain On The Carpet, from the hiatus breaking album In Currents. The rest of their set brought a myriad of their best tracks, from fan favorite Decorations and Ave Maria off of their first studio album to the first single of their new album, Lilac, entitled Hit By A Car (In Euphoria). In an endearing riff with the crowd, Enders let the crowd know that he does indeed know how to party, having downed four bottles of water and that the odd odor the crowd smelled was the apple cider vinegar he had gargled moments before hitting the stage. Almost two decades of waiting to see them live and they did not disappoint.
And a special shout out to the young lady in the “Cheer Up Emo Kid” hoodie who let me scoot to the front of the stage to get some pictures.
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