Over four years ago, Hammonton, New Jersey rockers, The Early November, were standing in front of thousands of fans in the parking lot of Giants Stadium for the 2007 Bamboozle Festival. However, this was not an ordinary performance. In fact, it would be their last show for over four years. TEN, who had just released their triple disc not even a year prior in 2006, were run down. After spending the better part of their early adulthood on the road, it was time for a break. While it seems a lot of bands that go on a “break” these days pack it up for a year or two, and then come back. This was not the case with The Early November, which made their September 10 show at the Electric Factory extra special.
After arriving to the venue, it was very apparent that the night would be a reunion of sorts. Running into old friends at the bar next door and in the venue, brought back memories of seeing the band in the early to mid 2000’s. The vibes in the room were pretty surreal; you could overhear people talking to the friends they came with, or new friends, about their favorite TEN moments. Whether it was their Bamboozle 2007 performance, or the first time they met one of the members of the band, it was certain that everyone in that room was there to reminisce about the golden days of this “scene” and see a band that went from small town to a national touring act on Drive Thru Records.
At around 8:45, the lights dimmed and the band walked on stage. With a roar of screams, and a confetti cannon shooting off, the band kicked in to their first song, “I Want To Hear You Sad.” Immediately, I thought back to the first time I heard this song, and the music video where they were riding bikes around town. As soon as Ace started singing, the crowd sung along to every word at the top of their lungs for the entire night. Wasting no time, they kicked right into “Sesame, Smeshame,” off their album, The Rooms To Cold. You could tell that the band was just as happy to be there as the crowd, and they let it be known countless times. In between songs Ace and company seemed stunned and didn’t know what to say expect for “thank you.” It’s got to be an amazing feeling to not play for over four years and come back to a sold-out show. Many bands have come and gone in the past four years, but it’s clear that the crowd never forgot about The Early November.
The band played a nineteen song set list featuring material off all three of their releases, For All Of This, The Rooms To Cold, & The Mother, The Mechanic, The Path. With their set clocking in at ninety minutes, they played every song you wanted to hear. The classic one-two punch of “Something That Produces Results” and “The Mountain Range In My Living Room” was definitely a highlight along with the sing-along, “Ever So Sweet,” which should have been every high school’s prom song. “Sunday Drive,” the oldest recorded TEN song was a nice touch, but when they went from that to “The Rest Of My Life,” “Driving South,” and “Money In His Hand” off of their triple disc, you could see the progression the band had in songwriting over the years. It makes you wonder, if they never stopped playing four years ago, what would we have heard next? Judging by the projects the band has been involved in, damn good material.
Closing the main set was crowd favorite “Baby Blue.” The band left the stage for a few brief moments and then came back on and joked, “we didn’t want to leave too long, it would have been embarrassing if no one chanted!” Well, they sure did chant. Their encore consisted of “Decoration” and “Every Night’s Another Story,” perhaps two of the most high-energy TEN songs out there. When the band walked off stage, you couldn’t have asked for more. Well, that’s kind of a lie…. As soon as I got home I ordered a ticket for their Starland Ballroom show on November 26.
Serg, the bass player stated at one time during the set, “a lot of people said after our last show we ALMOST made it, but after a show like tonight, we made it.” That couldn’t be farther from the truth. How do you define “making it?” For some bands it’s maybe writing a song, or going on a tour, or getting signed, the point is for every band it’s different. By most standards The Early November definitely “made it.” They have sold over 500,000 records combined, but most importantly, their music has left an impact on thousands and thousands of fans all over the world. That can be proved by the fact that after four years of not making a noise, they can come back for a show and put on one of the best performances out there. That’s “making it.” Ace said, “If we were to do this again would anyone come?” One thing’s for sure, if The Early November books a show, people will come. Their music was the soundtrack to thousands of teenagers high school years, and now continues to live on as they are now adults.