E-Town Concrete/Hatebreed @ Starland Ballroom

SAYREVILLE, NJ—Hatebreed is a band that has put in the work for a decade and is at the point where they can headline just about any venue in any state. But when Hatebreed come to New Jersey and play shows with New Jersey’s beloved E-Town Concrete, Hatebreed defers and plays before the Jersey legends.

This show at Starland Ballroom on a Saturday in early January was a co-headline tour, and at the time the show was announced, it was advertised as ‘E-Town Concrete vs. Hatebreed.’ After seeing Hatebreed, I’m usually ready to go home, because it’s such an energetic and enjoyable performance that usually wipes me out. But having to stay to see E-Town, who I love just as much as Hatebreed, I found myself trying hard to get my second wind.

After I pushed my way politely through to the rear bar, which took me almost five minutes, I found a place to watch the band from near the back area by the pool tables. Hatebreed had just taken the stage, giving props to New Jersey and announcing they would be playing something from every album. They were celebrating 15 years since the release of their first EP, Under The Knife. Their set included the songs “Puritan,” “To The Threshold,” “Doomsayer,” “Last Breath,” “This Is Now,” “Proven,” “Live For This,” “Defeatist” and “Destroy Everything.”

After Hatebreed’s set, the excitement and tension was at a breaking point for ETC, since it was their first show in almost a year. E-Town pleased the hardcore crowd with what seemed like every single song they ever wrote (well, just about!). The crowd sang along word for word to every song with fists in the air. Their set included the songs “Baptism,” “Father’s Marathon,” “Doormats,” “All That You Have Is Still Not Enough,” “I Lost My Train of Thought,” “More Than Incredible” and “So Many Nights.”

The show made me think back to my WSOU days and how much this band was exposed through WSOU, where the occasional double and triple shot of E-Town is a weekly occurrence on the station. While E-Town did tour over the years, their biggest and most loving fan base lies here in New Jersey. E-Town also took a stab at covering Biohazard’s “Punishment.” I remember that I saw Danny Shuler, drummer from Biohazard, at the show and I’m surprised he didn’t jump on stage to play that song. E-Town also played “Battle Lines” which features Jamey Jasta on guest vocals (along with Christian Machado of Ill Nino). Surprisingly, Jamey did not come out to sing his portion of the song. According to a bouncer friend at the club, there were only four fights that night which made it a “quiet” night. Though you wouldn’t guess that from the volume of the room.