The Amity Affliction – Live @ The Logan Campbell Centre
Big Ass Tour kicked off at Auckland’s Logan Campbell Centre last night. This venue has been the host to many a festivity, from secondary schools’ Smoke-free Rock Quest, to our annual Easter Show. The Logan Campbell Centre transformed itself last night for a killer line up of Antagonist AD, Motionless in White, A Day To Remember and The Amity Affliction.
Words by Jessie Booth | Photos by Darkroom
A nice open set up made the bar, merchandise counter and stage very accessible and easy to flow in and out of depending on where you wanted to float. And boy was I stoked with the affordable merch. $35 for a T-shirt? Yes, please!! If all visiting bands could have prices this low I think I would see a lot more merch store success and a lot more people wearing band shirts. Last night the Logan Campbell Centre turned into a haven of Metalcore and Post-Harcore, where a friendly shove in the pit was all in good sport and a tap on the shoulder to one of the stronger guys in the room would get you sent surfing over the crowd.
After a very serious tour bus crash in Texas, The Ghost Inside were unable to join us for Big Ass Tour, so Kiwi Hardcore band Antagonist AD stood up to the plate and put on a great show in their place. They displayed a notable dose of energy but the crowd was beyond weak. Being the first band up, I didn’t expect there to be a full room, but the crowd that were present lacked all kinds of momentum. A giant pit in the middle of the room was mostly empty space except for some arm swingers and a couple sparse circle pits. Even when lead singer, Sam Crocker, offered for people to climb over the barrier and sing with him I thought ‘finally, we have room for action here’, but no one even attempted.
In the lead up to Big Ass Tour I thought I should look into Motionless in White, a band whose music was still unheard of for me at that point. And upon these listening sessions, I have to say that I wasn’t a fan. Not that the band wasn’t good but the music itself just didn’t gel with me. This was of course until I saw them live. And I thought to myself how I could have ever second-guessed this band. Their stage presence was electric, each member distinctive in stage personality and presentation. Chris Cerulli’s body language was absolutely captivating and drew the audience in, not to mention his vocal performance was on point. The only let down here was that the levels weren’t quite right. Warbling bass lines had a huge presence but, unfortunately, drowned out vocals and lead guitar. You could see guitarist, Ricky Olsen, absolutely gunning for it but his efforts could only be clearly heard when the bass cut out.
A Day To Remember
Now, A Day To Remember was a band to remember. Starting with a fan fare to amp up the room, a cascade of rainbow coloured confetti came down in flurries over the crowd. Open up the smoke cannons, the show is about to begin folks. These guys have been playing together since 2003 and 12 years’ worth of experience was oozing out of their performance last night. The crowd was squishing in and improving the mosh pit standards, crowd surfing was taking off and the energy did not stop that whole set. Toilet paper rolls streamed over the audience as Neil Westfall played behind his head and plenty of old numbers made it onto the set which made the crowd go wild.
By the time The Amity Affliction made it on stage the levels were mint. The screaming was clear and didn’t mix with bass frequencies like Motionless in White. Ahren Stringer’s vocals were just crisp, clear and precise. Pig squeals on the guitar were so clear – just the details you could hear with Amity Affliction that were lost in some of the previous acts were so satisfying to finally hear. Sweat was dripping from the band as they gave it their all – Ahren was spinning along to the songs as lead vocalist, Joel Birch, was beating his chest as the crowd sang back to him.
Joel dedicated ‘Shine On’ to his dad who could be spotted as one of the only two people sitting above the crowd in Logan Campbell’s back bleachers. And I was beyond disappointed when they walked off stage without playing Pittsburgh, but it made an appearance in their encore and you could just hear the crowd singing their lungs out to the chorus:
“It’s like there’s cancer in my blood,
It’s like there’s water in my lungs
And I can’t take another step
Please tell me I am not undone….”
We came out covered in other people’s sweat, water coolers were drained and fliers for the after party at Ding Dong Lounge were enthusiastically spread through the filtering out crowd. A chorus of “Ding?” “Ding Dong Lounge anyone?!” “DING?!!” could be heard all through the car park. Windows were enthusiastically rolled down as we cooled off and sang out all the way home. Big Ass Tour you were a kick ass night.