Written By | Jilian McLendon
The Early November hit Atlanta, Georgia hard on their third stop of the US tour with OWEL and Have Mercy in tow. Their avid fans stepped up on Monday night for a decent turnout at The Masquerade’s Hell venue- another one of Atlanta’s intimate event spaces.
OWEL opened the night enthusiastically. The indie/alt rock quintet from New Jersey wowed the crowd with catchy beats, a seemingless set, and a badass incorporation of string instruments from violinist Jane Park. Jay Sakong (lead vocals, guitar) has an amazing vocal range and gorgeously smooth, calming voice- especially paired with the rest of the band’s subtle backup vocals. We even got a surprise of Jay’s use of a bow on his electric guitar. It was quite unexpected and many of us were left with jaws-to-the-floor expressions. If you haven’t checked them out yet, I highly recommend it.
Have Mercy is always a delight to watch perform. Brian Swindle (lead vocals, guitar), has a very give-take rapport with his audience and doesn’t mind the occasional deterrent from song into open dialogue. He almost welcomes it as a way to bond and build a relationship with his new found fans. The entire band even accepted a tequila shot from an adoring fan a few songs into their set! Despite the fact that Brian blew out his voice several days prior he worked magic vocally putting on a pretty flawless, casual performance and one to leave us always wanting “just one more song”.
The main attraction of the evening, The Early November, made a grand entrance to the stage with youth and energy! It’s hard to believe that it’s been 20 years since The Early November formed but this band holds so many people’s hearts and helped shape the early 2000’s emo/post hardcore scene. So many had been eagerly anticipating a new album from the band for years (their last album released was Imbue, 2015) and were teased with news of an album and push back since 2018. We also didn’t know what to expect; there has been so much musical diversity in the released albums over the years.
This tour’s set list features songs from their newest album Lilac (2019) including “Ave Maria” and “Hit By A Car (In Euphoria)” while also incorporating older, deloved tracks like “Tell Me Why” (In Currents) and “Decorations” (Fifteen Years). Ace Enders (lead vocals,guitar) may talk about aging “gracefully” on stage but his vocals and energy are far from old and fading- that’s for sure. His stage presence is contagious and unstoppable. One can’t help by smile knowing that he is truly loving and feeding off of his fans.
Speaking of, none of us skipped a beat with singing, jumping, and moshing along to each and every song. The magnetism in the venue spoke for itself and the happiness we all felt being a part of this incredible tour.
Photo Credit: Jilian McLendon