For some, the autumn season brings a flood of nostalgic memories that encompass far more than family gatherings, pumpkin pie, and crackling fires. Instead, the season ignites recollections of huddling in hoodies outside of dimly lit venues where second-hand smoke serves as a breath of fresh air. There is simply no better time of year to experience a punk show than in the fall. Fortunately, Cartel and The Early November provide just the dose of throw-back excitement that seems to be missing from the scene lately.
On the heels of last year’s In Stereo EP, Cartel seemed content to play mostly old favorites from their 2005 debut Chroma. This would end up suiting the night well at the Emerson Theater, where everyone seemed to feel transported back in time, jumping and singing along to every track. Adding to the atmosphere was the recently-reunited pop-punk outfit The Early November. Not only did Ace Enders sound better than ever while soaring through many of the band’s best songs, but he stopped multiple times to thank the rambunctious crowd for reigniting his passion after several rough weeks on the road. In an age where most shows seem tamed by the passivity of the crowd and their reluctance to turn to phone screens instead of the stage, there was hardly a backlit screen to be found. Instead, a crowd of music fans thirsting for the return of one of their favorite bands took the opportunity to make moment a memorable one.
Enders started off the band’s set with “Digital Age”, a track from the band’s recent release, In Currents, singing, “And play the songs streamed on video screens / We don’t need shows in a digital scene / So give up”. Fortunately for everyone, this passing sentiment hasn’t seemed to affect the band’s live gusto in the slightest.
The Early November