Over the course of this year, The Amity Affliction have been undertaking their biggest tour to date under the banner ‘Brothers In Arms’ tour, rounded out on the UK leg by supports in the form of the UK’s Landscapes and fellow Australians In Hearts Wake. Tonight the tour calls into the O2 Academy 3 in Birmingham, the final date of the UK leg.
In Hearts Wake began in 2006 inspired by the natural surroundings of Byron Bay, releasing debut album ‘Divination’ in August of 2012, displaying a talent of producing emotive and inspiring post-hardcore. The comparisons between them and tonight’s headliners are definitely on show for all to see, however there’s nothing wrong with a bit of healthy competition. A competent and lively performance as it was, it all felt a little like they stuck to the formula musically and didn’t offer anything new; however vocals from Kyle Erich on songs such as ‘Inertia’ proved extremely powerful and reminded me personally of Johnny Craig, which cannot be a bad thing. Overall, an entertaining and competent performance however maybe lacking innovation.
Next up were Somerset’s Landscapes, who were a heavier collection leaning towards more of a punk sound, recently re-releasing debut album ‘Life Gone Wrong’. Musically, Landscapes are extremely tight and passionate, extremely engaging and finding melody within the grittiest of sounds. If poetry was ever taken directly from lyrics, Landscapes would win the top prize as lyrically they prove cohesive to the sound whilst being extremely poignant and thought-provoking. Definitely a band whose material I recommend you delve into in the future.
The Amity Affliction are a post-hardcore band originating from Australia, forming in 2003 and in terms of worldwide knowledge are possible one of the best known in their field alongside Parkway Drive. To hear they were playing such a small venue this evening was surprising as I always believed they were much bigger and at least capable of playing the O2 2 next door, but who’s to say bigger means better. It definitely didn’t in this case.
Releasing three albums, Severed Ties in 2008, Youngbloods in 2010 and Chasing Ghosts in 2012, it’s only the later two albums that get a showing tonight. From Youngbloods its Anchors, Youngbloods and I Hate Hartley that get played tonight, each providing crushing screams coupled with group sing-along’s to rival pops greatest. Chasing Ghosts brings Greens Avenue, RIP Bon, Chasing Ghosts, Life Underground and Open Letter. Choosing to perform Open Letter as the encore track was a great choice, and the feeling of unity within the crowd piling on top of each other to scream the lyrics back to the dual vocalists was a great sight. Also performing a cover of Lana Del Rey’s Born To Die, showed a less serious side and talent demonstrated through the band, to completely adapt a song to their own style, making it fit flawlessly into the set.
The message of Amity Affliction is all about unity and positivity, and this definitely comes across tonight both through the relationship between the band and the audience but also the lyrical content the band convey. Ahren Stringers vocals tonight are as good as on record, which for a band of this genre is something that’s often not found, whilst Troy Brady’s screams are as gritty and powerful as ever.
Definitely able to reach greater heights with such a large sound and powerful message. Here’s hoping.
Review by Dan Earl
Photographs by Steve Gerrard