Gig Reviews

The Amity Affliction – Palace Theatre, Melbourne 23/10/13

On a bill dubbed the ‘Brothers In Arms’ tour, In Hearts Wake, Stick To Your Guns and Chelsea Grin joined Queensland natives The Amity Affliction on a national tour. For the crowd at the Palace Theatre, it was Melbourne’s turn to join what had turned into a celebration of the band’s accomplishments to date.

Californian quintet Stick To Your Guns offered plenty of promise with their brand of metalcore, but any momentum gained by their performance was quickly eroded by vocalist Jesse Barnett spending the majority of the set unnecessarily preaching between songs.

Hailing from Utah, Chelsea Grin packed a lot more punch than their predecessors, with Pablo Viveros on drums providing some impressive double-kick work that hit your chest like a tonne of bricks. Vocalist Alex Koehler’s deathly growls were unwavering throughout their short set. The guitar sound varied from classic metal to the thicker, more brutal riffs that provided the soundtrack for some of the more chaotic mosh pits I’ve been witness to.

The Amity Affliction were warmly welcomed to a stage adorned with army-style camouflage. The largely early 20s, female crowd made their appreciation very vocal. While I’ve never understood the impetus behind perverting what has the potential to be some perfectly good metal with vibrant, melodic vocals and squeaky clean guitars, the 1,500 odd kids in attendance shared no such apprehensions. They remained in the hands of lead vocalist Joel Birch and co-vocalist Ahren Stringer from set opener Greens Avenue to the end of encore, Open Letter.

Before dedicating Fruity Lexia to the fans that have been there from their Severed Ties days, Birch let the crowd know that these will be the last headline shows for a while before they enter the studio to commence work on their next album.

Youngbloods received one of the biggest crowd responses of the evening. Who knows why a band requires an interlude only four songs into a set, but it didn’t appear to dampen the seemingly relentless enthusiasm of the crowd. Of course, when that enthusiasm is precipitated in the form of girls openly weeping, you get to thinking “What has become of rock and roll?”

The band continued to stream crowd favourites, with Anchors and I Hate Hartley both producing energy-sapping circle pits. The following cover of Lana Del Rey’s Born To Die was in some ways an inspired choice, as it suited the band’s dirty-then-clean vocal style. Though the rendition of a song from a genre utterly foreign to the crowd did serve to douse the fans’ excitement somewhat.

Chasing Ghosts was tasked with closing out their set. The audience gave one final thrust of energy as the band farewelled Melbourne until their performance on the Vans Warped Tour in December. The audience coaxed the band into making a final appearance and the performance of Open Letter proved to be one of the many crowd favourites of the night.

Personal preferences aside, The Amity Affliction gave a meticulous performance that was everything that the audience were expecting, and more.

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