The Early November – Middle East Show Review

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On a rainy Wednesday night, The Early November took the stage at The Middle East Downstairs as part of their autumn headlining tour, bringing Seahaven and Cartel along for the ride. What followed was one of the most exuberant shows ever to grace Central Square—The Early November made clear their love of Boston, and Boston showed the love right back.

SoCal California based band Seahaven started the evening with a fantastic set full of great melodies and drums. The crowd joined in on “Black & White” and “Head In The Sand (Blinding Son),” the latter an anthemic tune that captured what this band could do: indie/punk with genuine emotion. At the end of Seahaven’s set, vocalist Kyle Soto changed it up for an acoustic solo accompanied by his dollar bill with GOD-written-in-marker adorned guitar, performing “Honeybee.” On the album, “Honeybee” has a lo-fi quality, but it sounded remarkable live. It was a performance that had the crowd swooning.

Cartel took the stage next, whom I haven’t seen since Grad Nite 2007 in Disney! But they’ve since had another album and EP, and all members fist bumped one another before jumping into the set. Opening with oldie “Luckie St,” the crowd swarmed the stage. The night’s performance was a good blend of old and new, just what fans were thrilled to hear. From “Runaway,” “The Perfect Mistake,” to “Say Anything Else,” Cartel had the room shouting and singing. “Burn the City” earned another clap-along, and “Conduit” from the recent EP In Stereo had a neat Flock of Seagulls type riff tucked in the beginning amongst the solid guitar work. Cartel closed with “Honestly” from 2009’s Chroma, a true pop punk gem.

When The Early November came on, they unveiled their set—a sparkling green drum kit, flanked by lamps as per the “In Currents” video motif. Almost immediately, the crowd pressed forward, reaching out as Ace Enders, Joe Marro, and Sergio Anello reached their hands out to fans during songs. The Early November started with new track “Digital Age” before segueing right into 2003’s “Something That Produces Results.” This set, too, was a great balanced working of tracks—though in support of In Currents, this was a part of their reunion and it was good to hear the past acknowledged. A fair amount of new material made it into the night, including the title track, “Frayed in Doubt,” and “Stain on the Carpet.” Things slowed down a little once with the pretty and well belted “Tell Me Why,” but The Early November kept things pumped and full of energy. Sergio worked up a tremendous sweat throughout the night, stepping up on to the speakers and shaking his soaked head at the fans. He ultimately surfed the crowd as his mic cord was funneled out to him—somehow an audience member floated up to the stage along with Sergio.

The Early November put on a fantastic performance that left many voices hoarse by the end. This being their third stop in Boston in the last 10 months, they most definitely are welcome back for more. And they’re more than welcome after 6 long years.

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