The Amity Affliction + A Day To Remember + Motionless In White + Hands Like Houses
Qantas Credit Union Arena, Sydney
12 December 2015
Review by Jeremy Vane-Tempest
Photos by Joel Anderson
The Big Ass Tour had finally arrived on Australian shores and around ten thousand people descended upon the QANTAS Credit Union Arena for one of the last shows held here before it gets torn down. Sad? Not really – it’s an old and dated venue and, frankly, Acer Arena has better public transport access, more parking and superior facilities. Still, it was nice to send the old gal off with a bang.
Motionless in White were supposed to open the show, but then The Ghost Inside had that massive fatal bus crash and suddenly Motionless in White were bumped up the roster and Hands Like Houses were thrown in to cover for them. Frankly, Hands Like Houses were out of their depth. Obviously a rushed, last-minute replacement, a heavier band would have better suited the void that The Ghost Inside left in the lineup. They paid due tribute to The Ghost Inside and while they definitely appeased the two die-hard fan girls on the left of the floor who were losing their damn minds – yes, I saw you. EVERYBODY saw you – they were unsuited to the lineup.
After that were Motionless in White. These poor bastards. Name a tech problem and they had it. There were multiple instances of guitars cutting out, microphones muffling, vocals getting lost behind the distortion and even one really unfortunate point where only the drums and vocals were working. Credit where it’s due, though – they still kicked arse. The Linkin Park cover was a nice touch to get the kids who weren’t familiar with their stuff involved, but they probably didn’t need it. I loved the suit on their guitarist and the fact that their keyboardist looked like Professor Snape. A billowing cloak is the most pimping thing this side of a gold-plated Mercedes SLK.
A Day to Remember are, no, bullshit, one of, if not the, best live bands going around right now. I loved their set. They’re just the ultimate performers. Every member has the personality of a front man. You can’t watch any individual for too long lest you miss what the others are doing. They had glitter cannons, smoke cannons and a screen going on behind them alternating between animations, lyrics and album art. Then, during the song City of Ocala, the screen displayed photos and videos of their hometown, Ocala, Florida.
One video was of a backyard, prompting front man Jeremy McKinnon (who, by the way, is the best hardcore front man this side of Winston McCall) to shout “that’s my mum’s f*ckin’ house!” They played a high-octane set of fifteen songs, a great blend of old and new (plus a quick cover of Oasis‘ Champagne Supernova), with a natural and worthy emphasis on their breakout album, Homesick. They just wrecked face, and frankly, I had no idea how The Amity Affliction could possibly match them.
My concerns were well founded because Amity simply weren’t up to scratch. Hands Like Houses had a youthful vigor to their performance, Motionless in White were what Marilyn Manson should be (i.e. not a spoilt, over-rated brat of a man) and A Day to Remember were just immense. The Amity Affliction, by comparison, were average. Joel Birch, in particular, just seemed to teeter between appearing disinterested and just plain tired, aimlessly wandering around stage like an aging warehouseman who’s been given conflicting storage instructions, and that’s the opposite of what a front man should be.
The Amity Affliction may have conquered the ARIA charts, but they have a long way to go in terms of performances, which is not good for a band that’s been around longer than a decade. If Soundwave has taught us anything, it’s that you can only keep putting on lackluster performances for so long before people stop turning up.