“Hot Damn?” This was the only clue given for this past Sunday’s, (Nov. 13) secret headliner at The Slidebar in Fullerton. Of course, anyone who’s ever listened to Every Time I Die has fond recollections of this album, generally known amongst fans as one of their best releases. It was therefore no surprise that while the attending crowd was small, it was intense.

The first opening act was The Sparring, lead by (in his words) “a big angry Mexican guy.” Between beer chugs, the bassist and the guitarist would flail their instruments around, their heads slamming in time to the music. They had a definite angry sound to them, mixed with hardcore and punk influence. However, they were also groovy, especially guitar-wise, though it was in the background. They wound up finishing with a great cover of Ace of Spades by Motorhead, and the crowd certainly appreciated it. Major props go to the singer’s stage presence throughout the whole show.

Goodbye Cruel World was a metalcore outfit that seemed just a bit too hardcore for my standards. Honestly, by this time, I’d had a few drinks and realized after a song or two that they could not keep my interest any long, and therefore left the room. It would be good to point out right here that this is the beauty of Slidebar; at most of their shows, they allow ins-and-outs back out to the bar and smoking section; most places are far less accommodating.

Every Time I Die, who had just come from a show in Pomona with GWAR, hit the stage already sweaty and drunk. Their distinctive sound, what I like to call “party metal,” got everyone dancing, swaying, and/or headbanging. Among crowd favorites they played were “Ebolarama,” “The New Black,” “We’rewolf,” and “Floater,” with the latter being the final song to much enthusiasm. The sound was spot on, with minimal errors noticed. The band encouraged people to rush the stage, with multitudes of people flying off the stage into the crowd (I’m honestly sure my legs hit the ceiling at one point … or maybe that was someone’s head).

The energy of the band and the crowd provided for one hell of a show. The stage is right next to the crowd in a small room, allowing an atmosphere of closeness with the band, as opposed to seeing them at a larger venue. Plus, it was free! Secret shows can be a bust, especially if you’re not let in on the secret early enough, but this is one that definitely wasn’t. Let’s hope Slidebar continues to invite good bands; whether or not they tell anybody who it is, I leave to them!

Words: Jeremy Bigelow

Photography: Chad Sengstock via Slidebar

Click here to check out Chad’s huge photo gallery via the Slidebar Facebook page.