Live Review: The Amity Affliction, A Day To Remember, Motionless In White, Hands Like Houses

18 December 2015 | 12:54 pm | Tash Loh

"Four bands, three confetti explosions, a few hundred balloons, one top-notch night."

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Some divine force in the universe had the absolute bright idea to grace Adelaide with 40 degree heat on the day the Big Ass Tour came rolling into the sweaty city. Bang off the cusp of the announcement of the indefinite cancellation of Soundwave, metalheads and rock fans rolled up to the Entertainment Centre for a fix of short, fast and loud. Pop culture references and black Vans were in abundance as four top-notch acts tore the city to pieces.

Homegrown boys Hands Like Houses' energy is something to behold, a truly monstrous effort on the scorcher of a day. The pit was already in full swing, with windmill-dancing and circle-thrashing opening up within minutes. New Romantics closed off the set, sending humans bouncing into each other as if made of rubber. Definitely a worthy filler-in for The Ghost Inside.

If you thought you left goth-metal behind in the '90s, along with your chokers and torn denim, you are sadly mistaken, my friend. It's alive and — we think — well in the form of Motionless In White. Chris Cerulli's guttural growls and controversial profanities were well received by a crowd who were more than ready to raise their fists at every opportunity. Deliciously political and refreshingly entertaining, the Pennsylvania boys left a heavy impression.

A real, honest to God mosh pit is a wondrous thing to behold. It's a living specimen, breathing and pulsating along to vibrations of the double-kick bass drum and guitar shredding in a way that seems almost alien, and yet strangely familiar.

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Conventional bands usually save their confetti cannons for last, but A Day To Remember have never really been a conventional band, have they? Playing music that transcends genres and demographics, their wall of sound bombarded the audience with signature opening hit Downfall Of Us All. The pit was a tide that washed backwards and forwards, crowdsurfers riding the waves during Common Courtesy track Right Back At It Again. They attempted to open the "biggest fucking circle pit" Jeremy McKinnon's ever seen, and failed. A better effort was made during I'm Made Of Wax, LarryWhat Are You Made Of? followed up by the mandatory toilet paper throwing during All Signs Point To Lauderdale. What emo kid doesn't love screaming about how much they hate their hometown while being tp'ed and covered in other people's sweat?

The energy in the room was tangible, the sheer enthusiasm overwhelming in its complexity. ADTR have had an insane number of hits, with tracks like Mr Highway's Thinking About The End and Better Off This Way pumping out hugely. McKinnon's charisma oozes out of his every pore, lacing his words across the room. The cry of a generation — "disrespect your surroundings" — is a highlight of the hour-long set, a speck in the vastly impressive back catalogue of the Ocala rockers. The Plot To Bomb The Panhandle closes off an almost impossibly good set, the party just starting.

The Amity Affliction did their best to pump up a tiring crowd, and after a few warm-up tracks, the circles were open and the limbs were thrashing again. Open Letter kicked off the headliner's set, the juxtaposition of ADTR's pop-punk/metalcore amalgamation and Amity's dark drama offering an impressive auditory journey. The band's set was expectably pleasing, ripping out hits like Chasing Ghosts with a few pyrotechnic tricks thrown into the works for good measure. the relationship between members on stage takes their live performance to the next level, Ahren Stringer and Joel Birch both working together seamlessly to deliver the crowd into metal bliss. It's a true wonder how Stringer always manages to sound so happy when he's singing.

The lighting was as aggressive as the rhythms, with Youngbloods, Let The Ocean Take Me and Anchors showing off the Brisbane boys' musicianship. The real beauty in their performance, however, is in the deeper layers of the lyrics behind their tracks. "I still want to live/I still want to hope" sends ever-important messages into a scene where mental health is such a prevalent issue, and a nice touch to the night was the band's support for mental health charities. Total tune Don't Lean On Me closed off the set, the crowd drowning in sweat, confetti and balloons.

Nothing helps you expend some energy and let out some feels better than a heavy show. Four bands, three confetti explosions, a few hundred balloons, one top-notch night.