The Amity Affliction’s last run in the UK on the Kerrang! Tour seemed to fall flat among fans, with the venues being disappointingly unfilled. However, this time, they don’t have a looming title over their tour and are backed up by bands with similar nature. Openers Endless Heights, much like the night’s headline band, hail from Australian territory. Their mostly aggressive set evened out with mellow mid-set track ‘Come A Little Closer’ where vocalist Joel Martorana used the track’s title to force the crowd from their spread out state to a much more confined group huddled at the barricade. The relatively ‘unknowns’ of the line up cemented a certain presence amongst the fans that turned out early to witness everyone on the bill.
Dream State had drawn quite a crowd to their angsty, melodic brand of alternative rock. Opening track ‘New Waves’ could just as easily create a pit as it could a dance party with its groovy verses alongside a heavy hitting chorus. They’re minus the talents of bassist Danny Rayer on this run, but vocalist CJ seemed to revel in the extra room on stage. ‘White Lies’ seems to be the track everybody knows them for, however some fans only came to see Dream State in action, leaving with their fresh new merch before The Amity Affliction even came on stage. A band like this with such a strong fanbase already are going to go far.
The Plot In You are one of those bands who have been milling around the USA for years, never really touching the UK shores. They seemed to leave a big mark on the Manchester crowds with tracks like ‘Feel Nothing’ with its eerie opening, and ‘My Old Ways’. With their genre being the closest to the headliners, it’s easy to see how they’re the right band to get the crowd going.
This is a fresh start for The Amity Affliction, with new album Misery under their belt, the new material is slightly embedded with electronics and possibly even gloomier than their back catalogue. Still, the older tracks hold a certain place in the set that’s almost irreplaceable. ‘Don’t Lean On Me’ with its poignant chorus and ‘Chasing Ghosts’ with its punishing instrumentals give a little depth to a setlist filled with newer material.
Hoping the majority of the audience knows how to spell, ‘D.I.E’ opts for a chorus of spelling out words instead of just saying them. “If you guys know how to spell, you know how to sing along.” Bellowed vocalist Joel Birch before bassist Ahren Stringer began the track. As much as The Amity Affliction are a band that let the music speak for them and their movement is quite slow and fixed, Birch’s actions (especially in parts where his vocals aren’t needed) are quite menacing, only further cementing his intimidating on stage stature.
The combination of Birch and Stringer’s piercing vocals on the first encore track ‘Holier Than Heaven’ is part of what they do best. The track also holds a more aggressive notion live than on record, probably due to the fact their vocals have room to waver and overlap each other not being the squeaky-clean version the album track has to be. However it’s ‘Pittsburgh’ that’s the real MVP of the set. Since its release back on 2013’s Let The Ocean Take Me it’s been a staple of every set. One last track with crowd surfing not only accepted but encouraged. Overall, while The Amity Affliction’s last album Misery was received indifferently due to its change in sound, but their notions are the same and fans still resonate with that.
Photos by Sasha Howells.