Thousands of excited, band shirt wearing music enthusiasts flooded through the doors of the Adelaide Entertainment Centre last week to witness one of Australia’s biggest arena shows - The Big Ass Tour. Featuring two Aussie and two American bands, the mixed music bill of Hands Like Houses, Motionless In White, A Day To Remember and The Amity Affliction, has sold out stadiums across Australia.
Originally billed to include heavyweight melodic hardcore giants The Ghost Inside, the band were forced to cancel the Australian tour after a horrific fatal car accident. Filling their shoes were Australian boys Hands Like Houses, who’s pop-punk tunes successfully pulled off a killer set. Signed to Rise Records, they closed with single New Romantics which had the crowd warming up for the night's festivities.
The six-piece goth industrial metal group Motionless In White were next. Channeling a mix vibe of Marilyn Manson, Upon This Dawning and Cradle Of Filth, their dark, broody make-up and mask filled stage show lured the growing masses closer. A well-known hit, the group played a Linkin Park cover of One Step Closer that won unfamiliar fans over. Finishing with Reincarnate, the room was filling with heavy anticipation for the headlining acts.
With A Day To Remember shirts hanging from the backs of 80% of patrons, bodies packed tightly together to catch a glimpse of the band's highly acclaimed performance. The stadium darkened, screams intensified and the infamous 2001: A Space Odyssey theme song blasted across the speakers as the band entered the stage. Opening with Downfall of Us All, the room became a frenzy of sardine-packed punters that collectively jumped to the infectious rhythm of the 2009 hit. No strangers to our wonderful home town, the Ocala boys have played consecutive Australian shows since 2010. Frontman Jeremy McKinnon laid down flawless vocals the entire night, feeding off the screaming fans. Rolls of toilet paper shot from cannons, shooting and sprawling into the air during the anthem All Signs Point To Lauderdale, while McKinnon encouraged audiences to crowd surf during Better Off This Way. As the acoustic guitar came out, the stadium became a wave of emotion as arms wrapped around friends and strangers, with voices singing the love ballad If It Means A Lot To You. Concluding with Plot To Bomb The Panhandle, the hour-long set finished in what felt like seconds, and audiences cheered with burning throats wondering if The Amity Affliction could live up to their US counterparts.
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, you’ve gotta give the post-hardcore, metalcore veterans in The Amity Affliction some serious credit. With 12 years of hard work in their back pocket, the boys have seen ever-growing success since signing to label Roadrunner Records in 2012. Kicking off with Open Letter, confetti cannons exploded, covering the crowd in silver paper as they danced beneath the pulsating lights. Following with Lost and Faded, and a strew of songs off their latest releases, the surging crowd hung onto every word, screaming out with passion.
Awkwardly clinging onto the microphone stand, Birch was outshone by his backing vocalist Ahren Stringer's impressive, clean and pristine vocals. Barely uttering a word between sets except how great [insert state here] is, Birch launched into what he claimed was an “old favourite”, Bondi St. Blues, which features off last year's release. Hardly an "oldie", this broke the hearts of all those wishing they’d play something off their oldest releases. Despite this, the group eventually played 2010 early hits Youngbloods and Anchors, which included plenty of ground-shattering bass drops. Lighting the arena with a sea of mobile phones, Birch praised the Adelaidians stating, “I can’t thank you enough, from the bottom of my heart", before launching into Weigh Down. Finishing up the night with their Triple J thrashed single Shine On, and Lean On Me, hundreds of white balloons marked AMITY fell from the roofs, bouncing and floating through the air.
Heavy music isn't for all audiences, but there's no denying it's growing impact, influence and presence in the Australian music scene. For more photos, you can see the rest of our gallery here.
All images via Wade Whitington for This is Radelaide.