The Amity Affliction are kicking arse at the moment. Their 3rd album ‘Chasing Ghosts’ recently debuted at number one on the ARIA Charts (Yep, number 1!) and the Gympie natives are currently touring Australia promoting the new release. They arrived in Canberra on the back of six shows down the East Coast; most of them sold out, and brought some immensely talented bands with them along for the ride.
Looking around the UC Refectory, you never would have guessed it was a Tuesday night. The crowd was out in full force; black on black and ready to party. As Buried in Verona kicked off, the line to get in was still fifty strong as eager concert goers were slowly being ushered inside. The hardcore sextet impressed the Canberra crowd and justified their recent signing to Artery Recordings (USA).
British metalcore band, Architects were up next, and are without a doubt one of the most energetic bands you’ll come across. Front man Sam Carter stomped around the stage, commanding attention with a style I can best define as hardcore swag. The politically influenced song ‘These Colours Don’t Run’ was a highlight as Carter sent the crowd into a frenzy in the bridge with “You had it all – you F$%&ing Pigs!” The epic set laid a foundation hard to match.
The Ghost Inside didn’t miss a beat and seemed to take over exactly where Architects left off. Winning the crown for most intense mosh pit of the night, the hardcore band from LA had fans flailing non-stop for their 40 minute set and the sea of broken, bloodied and bruised bodies that stumbled from the pit was a sight to see.
And then it was time. After what SEEMED LIKE FOREVER (See what I did there?), The Amity Affliction took their place on stage and launched into their lead single ‘Chasing Ghosts’. The crowd were treated to an hour long set involving a mix of old and new songs. It was hard to take your eyes off charismatic front man, Joel Birch who sung with passion and absolute believability. The once troubled singer smiled, interacted with and thanked fans at every opportunity, expressing their gratitude and disbelief at the response they were receiving. However in my book, it was bass player and clean singer Ahren stringer who was the standout performer of the night. His voice hardly seemed to strain throughout the long set and he reached notes that you’d only expect to find on a polished album. The bands’ enthusiasm on stage was contagious and the crowd’s energy levels stayed strong right up until the end.
After playing ‘Youngbloods’ and ‘Bondi St. Blues’ for their encore, the crowd remained insatiable. The chants for “one more song!” saw the band come out once more to close the night with ‘Open Letter’. The song ended with Ahren taking off his bass, jumping into the crowd for the final chorus and sharing the microphone with a clearly ecstatic fan baring a striking resemblance to Jerry Seinfeld.
The crowd lapped up every minute of The Amity Affliction and it’s great to see an Australian band doing so well here at home and abroad. They proved last night at the University of Canberra why their album reached number 1 and showed that they are a live act to be reckoned with.
Photography by Hannah Allen