On Saturday night, the Qantas Credit Union Arena was a sea of undercuts, snapbacks and the occasional superhero morphsuit as punters filed in for the first of six Australian shows for The Big Ass Tour, headlined by The Amity Affliction and A Day to Remember.
A mix of MySpace alumni and scene newcomers, the mosh was already chockers by the time Canberra’s Hands Like Houses hit the stage. Filling in for LA-locals The Ghost Inside, HLH delivered their brand of post-hardcore. Closing with new single New Romantics, the quintet may not have roused the same enthusiasm as TGI, but they came damn well close.
Up next were metal mavens Motionless In White. Opening with an eerie piano score and blood red lighting, MIW kicked off their set with electro-metal track Devil’s Night. As the keyboardist rocked a Sith Lord-like cloak and frontman Chris Cerulli banged a head of raven black hair that wouldn’t look out of place in a shampoo commercial, MIW brought a unique style to the lineup. After smashing out crowd favourite Immaculate Misconception and Marilyn Manson-sounding anthem A.M.E.R.I.C.A, the Pennsylvanian rockers appeased non-MIW fans with a cover of Linkin Park’s One Step Closer.
As the house lights darkened, the arena swelled with the booming Star Wars theme before descending into the chugging chant and guitar riff that open The Downfall of Us All. Cannons spat rainbow coloured confetti into the crowd as frontman Jeremy McKinnon produced his iconic roar and occupied the stage with infinite energy. From hurling toilet paper in All Signs Point to Lauderdale, human surfboard crowd-surfing in Better Off This Way, a warm tribute to home in City of Ocala and flashing backdrops encouraging circle pits, ADTR was a feast for all the senses.
However, the undisputed highlight of the set was an acoustic performance of Oasis’ Champagne Supernova that transitioned into If It Means A Lot To You and conjured a sea of swaying firefly-looking smartphone lights. While ADTR and Amity co-headlined the tour, the Florida-locals may have stolen the show.
The crowd was now more than ready to welcome Aussie hardcore heavyweights The Amity Affliction. As they launched into Open Letter under a downpour of metallic silver confetti, the crowd screamed back every word. Lead vocalist Joel Birch rocked his signature growl as platinum-blonde Ahren Stringer supplied the clean vocals while the instrumentals packed enough punch to shake the arena.
Lost and Fading, Chasing Ghosts and FML had the wall-to-wall crowd climbing on shoulders and swinging their limbs in circle pits. However, it was fan favourites such as Youngbloods, I Hate Hartley and Pittsburgh that really got the crowd going. A sea of Amity-branded balloons and streams of steam and flame also brought theatrics to the otherwise no-frills set. Before closing with absolute banger Don’t Lean On Me, lead vocalist Joel Birch exclaimed “this has been the best experience of my entire fucking life”. The screams that roared back at him proved that the crowd thought it was more than mutual.
If anyone thought that hardcore was dead, The Big Ass Tour lineup was more than enough to prove that it’s still alive and kicking.
Gallery: The Amity Affliction + A Day To Remember – Big Ass Tour, Qantas Credit Union Arena, Sydney 2015 / Photos By Liam Cameron