The Amity Affliction at The Ritz, Manchester

Support: Boston Manor| Vukovi | Casey
December 8, 2017 at The Ritz, Manchester
Promoter: Kerrang!

In its previous eleven years, the Kerrang! Tour has hosted such big names as Biffy Clyro, Bring Me The Horizon and All Time Low. Whether any of the bands on this twelfth instalment reach such heights remains to be seen, but they’re four very impressive bands that are all worth a listen. Sadly, I couldn’t get there in time for Casey, but their new single ‘Fluorescents’ is a stunning, poignant listen: https://smarturl.it/Casey_Fluorescents

Vukovi are very much the odd band out on this bill. Where the other three bands are very much emotion-driven bands with personal lyrics, the Scots bounce in like someone who’s just downed three energy drinks. “I don’t even know what day it is. Is it Thursday or Friday?” asks vocalist Janine Shilstone after spending the best part of ‘La Di Da’ and ‘And He Lost His Mind’ alternating between writhing on the floor and prowling the stage. She’s pretty quickly down at the barrier, and spends a significant part of closer ‘Boy George’ skipping with the mic wire. Barring a few people awkwardly clapping along occasionally, however, the crowd never really gets into it; something which isn’t helped by the bass that drives their sound being rather lost in the mix. Definitely a band I’d love to see again in a more intimate setting.

Boston Manor take to the stage with a swagger and a northern charm, and it’s quickly apparent that they’re not going to suffer from the same problem. There’s a hearty contingent of fans ready to scream each chorus – ‘Burn You Up’ getting a particularly rousing rendition, before slowing it down with the moving ‘Broken Glass’, which inexplicably sees the crowd open up a wall of death that doesn’t actually happen (I guess not everyone knew them). Henry Cox even finds time to perform one of the songs from atop the crowd. What is particularly impressive is that a band who’ve only been around since 2013 can seem so assured in their sound, and already seem perfectly at home on a reasonably big stage. As they sing in ‘Burn You Up’: “You better getter used to this”. . .

From The Amity Affliction’s opening scream of “I bring the weather with me,” the tone is set for the rest of the show – I’m not sure if there was a chorus that didn’t get screamed back at them, often louder than they could manage. Even if the band themselves aren’t particularly active on stage – I think Joel Birch (vocals) mentions something about his knee – the near constant pit more than makes up for it. It’s by no means a perfect show – the guitar never seems fully right – but with the vocals spot on, it never hinders anybody’s enjoyment. Be it the uplifting chorus to ‘Open Letter’ – “I’m not searching the sky for a reason to live ‘cause I found beauty right here and the passion to give,” – the tender, mostly acoustic ‘All Fucked Up’, or the incomparable catharsis of several hundred people screaming “Hey Death, get fucked” in unison during ‘Death’s Hand’, it’s a performance heavy on emotional intensity that doesn’t let up until the very last notes of ‘This Could Be Heartbreak’. It seems Kerrang! chose well.

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