November 1, 2016 The Amity Affliction Rise At The Nile Theater Mesa, AZ 10-21-16 w/ Being As An Ocean, Hundredth, & Trophy Eyes
Life events change a person, it is something that cannot be denied. Dealing with the twists and turns of it all, everyone has their own outlet of dealing with it all. Coping with a tragedy that took a friend’s life, a group of high school friends in Australia found release in music, and they called the band The Amity Affliction. Together now for over a decade, the band has also seen their share of ups and downs, but overcoming it, co-founding Vocalist/Bassist Ahren Stringer, long-time Unclean Vocalist Joel Birch, Drummer Ryan Burt, along with Guitarists Dan Brown and Kyle Yocum have created music that combines a plethora of human emotion all can relate with.
Seeing a steady incline in their pull on the Metal scene over the years, 2014’s Let the Ocean Take Me could be viewed as their breakout release, going Platinum in their home country and becoming their first album to be charted in the USA. A sort of awakening to the masses of what The Amity Affliction have to offer, the band take matters to the next level with their 2016 release, This Could Be Heartache. A continuation of their previous works, while showing progression, This Could Be Heartache’s success has been plenty, and in its support, they continue a busy worldwide tour. A run that began in Brisbane, landed in the The State, then over to Europe, and back home to Australia by year’s end, The Amity Affliction are a busy bunch. With the US run lasting over a month, on the next to final stop, they came to The Nile Theater in Mesa, Arizona on Friday, October 21st, for an epic night featuring support from Being As An Ocean, Hundredth, Trophy Eyes, and Deadships.
Built back in the 1920s, The Nile Theater is a former theater house and is well known for poor ventilation, weak lighting, and so-so sound quality, but nonetheless still a highly favored venue in these modern times. The bottom line, fans love coming to the venue and, as an observer, The Nile Theater’s atmosphere is quite enjoyable. That said, the fun kicked off with Chicago, Illinois band Deadships. Supporting their debut album, The Darkness Divides US, Deadships put on an energetic performance that was followed by Trophy Eyes. Also coming from the land of Australia like headliners The Amity Affliction, Trophy Eyes consists of Vocalist John Floreani, Bassist Jeremy Winchester, Drummer Callum Camp, as well as Guitarists Andrew Hallett and Kevin Cross.
A breed of Pop, Punk, and Hardcore, the band is signed to Hopeless Records and also recently dropped a new album, their second, Chemical Miracle. Cloaked in darkness, the type that the audience could not even see their hand in front of them, Trophy Eyes broke the silence with “In Return” before churning out tunes such as “Choke,” “Bandaid,” and “Chlorine.” With body-surfing in motion, the tune “Chlorine” stood out with an irresistible beat and some sick, catchy lyrics as the band kept playing while bodies came over the monitors from both sides of the stage. Quite a spark plug, Trophy Eyes are a band that should be on Punk fans’ radar.
After a quick blink of an eye, the Melodic Hardcore band by the name of Hundredth came to the platform, turning the pitch blackness to a crimson red. Forming around 2008 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Hundredth are also a member of the Hopeless Records family and continue to support their 2015 album, Free. Known for their involvement in a few charity acts, they began the project “Hope Into Humanity.” Vocalist Chadwick Johnson says, “Hope Into Humanity is about getting back to basics, and about realizing our human responsibility of doing everything we possibly can to help other people, whether it be across the world or in a backyard. We’re just starting this thing from the ground, and basically we want to unite with other people like us who want to see some change in the world, and if we unite together, our resources combined, and we get together as one, we can make a difference, and I think that’s what Hope Into Humanity is all about.” In addition, in 2012, Hundredth united with fans for “The Water Cause” campaign to raise funds to get clean water to people deprived of safe drinking water. The collective efforts brought in over $10,000 to help two villages in India. Proving that, with music, they can help make a difference, Hundredth are a force to be reckoned with on many fronts.
Ready to rattle The Nile, Johnson, Guitarist Alex Blackwell IV, Guitarist Andrew Minervini, Drummer Lee Hutchison, and Bassist J.P. Gressman made an immediate connection with the crowd as they powered onto the stage. Offering up some killer beats, the audience devoured tracks such as “Unravel,” “Free Mind/Open Spirit,” and “Break Free.” A sight to witness, even to the lead singer of Being As An Ocean, Joel Quartuccio stood stage side to Hundredth, headbanging and fist-pumping right along with the audience. Concluding their set with “Weathered Town,” Hundredth gave it their all, and in exchange, the crowd gave it right back.
Now packed wall to wall, the audience was ready to welcome main support for the evening, California’s Being As An Ocean. A band that combines melody with Hardcore and atmospheric styling, Being As An Ocean also offer unique vocals at the hands of Unclean Vocalist Joel Quartuccio and Clean Vocalist/Guitarist Michael McGough. Joined by Guitarist Tyler Ross and Bassist Ralph Sica, they recently added Jesse Shelley as their new drummer earlier in 2016. Releasing the positively acclaimed self-titled album in 2015, the guys now find themselves signed with Equal Vision Records with sights set to grow to new heights.
The core of the audience a notch higher, they also brought the lighting up some so everyone could bare their eyes on the musicians as they began their set with “Ok” as the aggressive voice of Quartuccio and McGough’s soothing vocals broke things wide open. As the band led their way into last single “Dissolve,” “The Poets Cry For More,” and “Dear G-D,” Quartuccio climbed down off the stage and joined in the circle of death, moshing and delivering that ultimate connection to his fellow body-slammers. The audience helped keep his microphone cord free from being tangled while respecting his space as he interacted with others for a wonderful hands-on experience.
Returning to the stage, Quartuccio continued as he, over and over again, assisted both female and male body-surfers, reaching his hand out as they inched closer to the stage. In their glory, surfers gave the band hugs, stopping short at times of thinking about staying and jamming along with them before once again diving into the crowd. Winding down their set with “L’exquisite Douleur,” it seemed fans yearned for more. Yelling in appreciation, drum sticks, guitar picks, and high fives were offered from the band as a parting gift, but hopes are Being As An Ocean will be back on the road very soon.
Now full of sweat and brought to the height of exhaustion with the four acts prior, everyone was refueled and ready for The Amity Affliction. A band that speaks to the anguish and frustration that everyone goes through, each The Amity Affliction album acts almost like a therapeutic experience for listeners. No doubt the same for the creators, This Could Be Heartbreak is allegedly going to be the final album from The Amity Affliction to feature such internal concepts, as their future album will reportedly be more narrator-like. Certainly a respectable progression, this band has grown up with a Vans Warped Tour audience here in North America, and as they mature, so does their base.
Met with exhilarating cheers and screams as they walked out, the band opened the flood gates with “I Bring the Weather With Me” as Stringer carried the majority of the vocals at first. Although, not to go unnoticed, the irresistible wide grin of Birch was on display as he awaited his chance to enter into the mix. Moving on with ease, “Open Letter,” “Never Alone,” and “All Fucked Up” followed. All cuts that kept the audience’s blood flowing, they were under the influence of Stringer’s passionate singing and Birch’s unearthly screams, perhaps the most underrated on the scene right now. Bringing the band to new heights with his unleashed vocal abilities, “Death’s Hand” was a riveting live experience.
Identifying with each song, the audience hailed, assailed, and never failed to sing along. That said, the room was brought a rousing encore that included some of The Amity Affliction’s most telling tunes, “Pittsburgh” and “Don’t Lean on Me,” before closer, “This Could Be Heartbreak.” Even though the crowd was bathed in sweat, they felt the show was over too soon, but expressed a universal love for The Amity Affliction. However, filing out the of the venue for the finale time to get some fresh air, it was agreed by many this was the best grouping of Post-Hardcore bands on the same tour in all of 2016. Fans left with a “Yeah, that was bitchin!” high fives, and a heart/soul filled with some of the best they have had.
Deadships, Trophy Eyes, Hundredth, and Being As An Ocean, along with the headliner, Amity Affliction, had this packed house throwing their bodies and smashing into each other in the circle of death as they moshed, slammed, and body-surfed themselves into oblivion. A perfect way to blow off some steam, and forget daily struggles, it was a perfect night through and through. Furthermore, The Amity Affliction offered an evening where fans felt like they got more than just a night out at a concert, they felt a real sense of belonging and basked in the music that rocked them to the core.