After stops in town both last fall and earlier this year to play Franklin’s BreakFEST, beloved, long-running New Jersey indie/emo rockers The Early November are slated to return to Music City once more, this time in support of forthcoming sixth full-length Lilac, making their headlining debut at The Basement East tonight, Sept. 17. Accompanied by a stellar supporting lineup of indie punk favorites Have Mercy and ambient, indie rockers OWEL, OG emo and indie punk fans will definitely want to snag tickets right here while they last! Read on for more about the show.
THE EARLY NOVEMBER
Formed two decades ago in Southern New Jersey, The Early November have been a staple of the indie/emo rock scene since the start of the millennium, not long after the young band recorded a five song demo in lead singer Ace Enders’ basement and sent it off to Drive-Thru Records, nabbing a deal with what would become one of the most taste-making labels of the era. Their 2002 debut EP, For All Of This, and followup full-length album The Room’s Too Cold, released the following year, are classics of the genre, switching back and forth from loud, swirling guitars to soft, melancholy acoustic tunes, showcasing Enders’ wide range of songwriting, and helping propel the group to cult fame and becoming a live touring fixture (appearing at events like Warped Tour and Bamboozle, as well as dates around the globe) as pop punk and emo took over the musical zeitgeist in the early to mid ’00s. The band took a hiatus shortly after the release of their third album (which is technically three albums in one) in 2006, a concept record called The Mother, The Mechanic and The Path, and remained largely out of the spotlight (despite beloved other projects like Enders’ I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody’s Business and Ace Enders and Million Different People) until 2012 when they released In Currents, which took them back to their roots of loud, angsty rock with Enders’ emotionally charged vocals. The Early November followed up that in 2015 with Imbue, which seemingly came out of nowhere on Rise Records, continuing in that same path, and proving that they’re at their best when they’re doing what got them known in the first place. Later this month, TEN, still going strong, will debut their sixth LP, Lilac, originally slated for late 2018, but pushed back to be completed to the band’s satisfaction. Produced by Enders at his own LumberYard Recording Studio, a string of early tunes hint at both a return to a more pop-centric sound and continued emotional complexity, as well as record that continues to feel full of personal, existential, and ambitious growth. Though they made it to town last fall, and played Franklin’s BreakFEST earlier this year, with new music right around the corner, it’s another exciting chance to catch The Early November, this time making their east side debut.
We’ve been singing the praises of Baltimore-based, emo-tinged indie punks Have Mercy since back in their DIY days (notably catching them at the Owl Farm many years ago), and have been thrilled to watch the talented, Brian Swindle led group amass a national following over the past few years, earning spots at Warped Tour, scoring high-profile independent record deals, and releasing four celebrated full-lengths, all the while touring endlessly and making a point to play Music City on a regular basis. Formed almost a decade ago, initially springing out of the hardcore scene, the band’s fusion of heavy emo, post-hardcore, indie rock, and pop punk resonated from the jump, hooking fans with 2013 debut The Earth Pushed Back and reaching a wider audience with 2014’s A Place of Our Own. Many years of DIY touring, two more LPs, 2017’s Make the Best of It and this year’s most recent, The Love Life, and continued scene accolades have made Have Mercy one of the most beloved and essential acts in modern emo and indie punk, a revivalist and earnest alternative to so many trend-coopting peers. They’re a perfect fit for this tour, and are always one of our favorite bands to catch live.
Like The Early November, OWEL hail from New Jersey, and though certainly imbued with elements of emo, their sound is much more rooted in alt, indie, ambient, and post-rock and dream pop than anything particularly punk. Formed in 2012, the group released their eponymous debut LP the following year, and signed to Equal Vision Records ahead of their sophomore LP, Dear Me, in 2016. Having shared the stage with acts like Mae, Minus The Bear, Foxing, and American Authors, the band have attracted a cult following and critical praise, and their latest and third LP, Paris, is surely their best yet; essential listening for any fan of ambient, resonant, indie rock. Don’t sleep on their opening set!
The Early November, Have Mercy, and OWEL will perform tonight, Sept. 17 at The Basement East. The show is 18+, begins at 8 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.), and tickets are available to purchase for $19.