The Amity Affliction
Hordern Pavillion, Sydney NSW
September 12th 2019
Supports: Underoath, Crossfaith, Pagan
A few months back at Download I caught the first five, sorry, three minutes ninety seconds of Australia’s favourite hardcore legends The Amity Affliction, before racing off to catch another clashing act I’d been looking forward to.
Fortunately, the opportunity came up to catch them again as a headliner, as Amity rolled into Sydney to kick off their long-awaited national tour, aided with three solid supports from around the globe, including local friends Pagan, from the US Underoath, and Japan’s Crossfaith.
As a relative newcomer to all four bands, I was left absolutely floored by each act, every performance more intense and impressive as the last.
Pagan kicked off the night’s proceedings, and as a band that’s had a massive year (even recently dropping into the BBC studios to record a set for Radio 1, quite an achievement) they show no signs of slowing down. Vocalist Nikki Brumen channels some energy, belting out songs from their Black Wash album with a ferociousness, wine bottle in hand, while the rest of the band pummel away with their unique brand of black rock and roll. They delivered a great opening set, and 2020 will no doubt see bigger things for them.
I might be a tad biased due to my affinity for all things J-Rock/Metal/ANYTHING, but for me, Crossfaith stole the night. While I’ve only heard a few songs from them, I knew we were in for something special as their stage layout came together. Sure enough, what I saw next I can only label as So Very Japan. Opening with an industrial/orchestral/EDM intro complete with a jaw-dropping lightshow. Song’s such as ‘Monolith’, ‘Freedom’ and ‘Kill ‘Em All’ offer a taste of Crossfaith’s blend of metal and electronica, however it’s when keyboardist/producer Terufumi Tamano takes centre stage that things really cross over into full-on rave territory. Add the amplified energy of the other members, including the insane drumming skills of Tatsuya Amano and vocalist Kenta Koie’s ability to keep the crowd energised. Crossfaith are a band that I definitely hope to see again soon.
Underoath were up next, opening with ‘On My Teeth’ from last year’s album Erase Me, and while not as visual as who they followed (opting for a more traditional light show and background) they did deliver an intense 40 minute set, including a mix of older songs such as ‘A Boy Brushed Red Living in Black and White’ and ‘Writing On The Walls’, along with newer material, leading up to a great finish in ‘Sink With You’. According to the band, Underoath have been making their way regularly to Australia since 2006, and it’s clear that their dedicated fanbase will continue to support them every time they play shows here, with vocalist Spencer Chamberlain getting in amongst the crowd as they lapped up the performance.
I’ll be honest – I’ve only recently started getting familiar with local post-hardcore heavyweights The Amity Affliction, having only heard the entirety of their first album Severed Ties last year, a few tracks from their recent album Misery, and the recent ‘All My Friends Are Dead’ single. I feel like not being a long-term fan is a bonus, as the ability to come to a show like this with a fresh set of eyes just adds to the experience – I probably join the group of folks who’ve come to this show for one band, and have ended up fans of the rest. The Amity Affliction’s nearly 90-minute performance was as intimate as it was a spectacle, featuring regular crowd singalongs throughout, an audio-visual feast including a bit of pyro, and even a small treat that I’ll let Browny mention so as not spoil it for those heading to Brisbane’s show. The Amity catalogue got a bit of a run, with fan favourites like ‘This Could Be Heartbreak’, ‘Anchors’ and ‘Pittsburgh’ in the mix (although nothing from Severed Ties,) while newer songs like the opening ‘Drag The Lake’ and ‘Ivy (Doomsday)’ had an impact. It was also awesome to hear ‘All My Friends Are Dead’ in a live setting. The combined vocals of Joel Birch and Ahren Stringer give each song a heavy and personal feel, and by the time Amity wrapped up with the acoustic ‘All Fucked Up’ those in the Hordern walked away happy with their fix of post-hardcore.
It’s clear The Amity Affliction have come a long way since forming in 2003, and have developed into a band that knows how to put on a show. I get the feeling the next chapter of Amity is only going to be bigger. I was blown away by every band I saw tonight, in particular Crossfaith, and I feel lucky to be able to walk away with such an awesome experience. If you’re in town for their next two stops (Brisbane and Melbourne) get along to this awesome lineup and prepare yourself for a show.
Gig Review by Simon Valentine (@SimonValentine1)
Revisit our Heaven and Hell podcast episode featuring interviews with The Amity Affliction, Underoath, Crossfaith and Pagan right here
The Amity Affliction
The Amity Affliction – Heaven and Hell Tour
with Underoath, Crossfaith and Pagan
Sept 14th @ Riverstage, Bris
Sept 16th @ Melbourne Arena, Melb