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Show Review: The Early November celebrates new album and old favorites on The Dark Horse Tour

Heading down the dark steps of The Underground at Mesa’s Nile Theater can be daunting in the summer but that’s exactly what very excited fans did this week to see The Early November on The Dark Horse Tour. The band is celebrating over 20 years of music and the release of their self-titled album in one sentimental package that had diehards crowding the basement to sing along.

Hellogoodbye returned to the road for this run, opening the show with the eclectic energy that has endeared them to audiences since 2001. Singer Forrest Kline is wacky and wonderful onstage, alternating between his DJ antics on one side of the stage and rocking out on guitar on the other. The audience towards the front of the venue was lost in the music, dancing with wild abandon to classics like “Shimmy Shimmy Quarter Turn” and “Here (In Your Arms)” with a bonus Smash Mouth mashup included. This tour is clearly a group of best friends enjoying their respective time onstage and even making appearances during each other’s sets, as shown by various members of Cliffdiver stage-crashing in the best way all night.

The Early November’s crowd was buzzing as singer Ace Enders took his place at center stage, beaming through the steamy Underground air for the buildup on “A Stain on the Carpet”. The band’s lineup is currently rounded out by original member Jeff Kummer, bassist Dillon Wray and guitarist Mike Carney to keep the full sound of the records shining through in the live show. 

By the third song, Enders was practically in the crowd to scream the choruses of “Decoration”  and “Frayed in Doubt”. Their extensive discography has made it more difficult to play some deeper cuts as the years have gone on, so Enders incorporated tracks like “Sunday Drive” and “Fluxy” into the setlist- a real treat for longtime listeners. 

Naturally, there is plenty of nostalgia surrounding The Early November but they are still consistently releasing new music and celebrating that with each new tour. “We Hang On” and “The Empress” were the chosen songs from the latest record and fans sang along with just as much gusto to these new tracks as they did with old favorites. Enders took a solo spotlight towards the end of the set to play an emotionally charged “Ever So Sweet” before the rest of the band closed things out with “I Want to Hear You Sad”. 

Forgoing a traditional encore, the quartet played straight through “Baby Blue” and “Every Night’s Another Story” for one last rush of adrenaline that carried the entire night. Emotions always run high at The Early November’s shows and the sincerity of spirit that permeates from the band to their fans has solidified into an unbreakable bond built over two decades. Enders kept that kindness going by meeting every fan after the set, smiling ear to ear at their stories and accolades and reassuring everyone that The Early November will always return to the loving embrace of Arizona’s music scene.