The Amity Affliction at Melbourne Arena, Monday 16 September, 2019.
Crossfaith propel onto the stage while lead vocalist Kenta Koie waves a flag front and centre. Three separate hero platforms are evenly spaced across the front of the stage to elevate the action, and a circle pit opens up in GA during the Japanese quintet’s opener – heckers! Keyboardist Terufumi Tamano is an evil genius behind his instrument station, which spews out cables and leads. Tamano often kneels on top of his console, sometimes even standing on top of it to pull shapes and bellow/scream into a wireless, handheld mic. Drummer Tatsuya Amano demonstrates impressive stick tricks and his double-kick-drum demolition evokes machine gunfire.
Their sound is a fusion of genres – metalcore techno, perhaps? – and Crossfaith should be commended for bringing something so incredibly fresh to the metal scene. Props to the punter who times his crowd-surf with such precision that he scores a fistbump from Koie on his way down. Now shirtless, Tamano joins Koie at the end of the catwalk and stagedives into the crowd as if he’s been shot out of a cannon.
Freedom sees Crossfaith tipping their hat to The Prodigy (please also listen to Crossfaith’s cover of Omen, stat!) and should totally compose the soundtrack for the next Transformers film. As the band take a group bow at the end of the catwalk, we already can’t wait ’til they next hit our shores. Our new favourite band.
Extra stand-up drumming makes the intro to Underoath‘s opener, On My Teeth, super-arresting. It seems like this is the night for keyboardists to pull focus: we’re drawn to Christopher Dudley, who convulses spasmodically as if being electrocuted through the soles of his feet. After informing us Before Breathing In A New Mentality is “the heaviest song [they] ever wrote,” lead singer Spencer Chamberlain – who expresses his gratitude a lot throughout his band’s set – demands a circle pit.
During their penultimate song Writing On The Walls, Chamberlain impressively crowd-surfs while sings. Closer Sink With You is a set highlight with constant dynamic shifts: “YOU. CAN’T. MAKE IT OKAY!” And we have never seen so many drum sticks and skins piffed out into the crowd post-show before.
This is Underoath’s second 2019 visit (they played UNIFY Gathering earlier this year) and Chamberlain concludes with a promise that they’ll see us again next year.
Sparks literally fly during The Amity Affliction‘s opener, Drag The Lake, thanks to pyros. One hero platform has been shifted to the end of the catwalk to elevate unclean vocalist Joel Birch, who dedicates Ivy (Doomsday) to Underoath. We collectively bask in this band’s extreme contrasts – Ahren Stringer’s clean vocals are so pure and ethereal! While Stringer sings, Birch conducts their congregation – liberally raising his naughty finger – and his parts are delivered with demonic fury. The crowd in GA lurches back and forth – a monster swell – and security guards are kept busy throughout the evening, plucking out crowd-surfers while trying to avoid being kicked in the noggin’ by limbs akimbo.
“All my friends are DEEEEAAAAD!” – OOF, sh-t, don’t get much heavier than that! But then This Could Be Heartbreak – a bonafide singalong anthem – follows.
“I wanna see it wider and wider!” Birch encourages, watching a whopping circle pit form. When he screams, “Keep keep it f-cking spinniiiiiing!” it’s as if the gates of hell open and we soon spot single shoes flying in the air come Shine On. Pagan vocalist Nikki Brumen comes out for a guest scream during Anchors, which Birch intros as “an old one.”
Birch himself crowd-surfs during D.I.E, and Open Letter hits the sweet spot. Birch then gets all sincere on our asses: “Thank you for your support over the years and years that we’ve been a band.” And as for the drum solo by Joe Longobardi, who joined the band on a full-time basis at the end of last year – HUH!? He starts off pelting his skins alongside some kind of AC/DC T.N.T. magic, as his kit slowly rises on a cherry picker while spotlights flash in all directions. This morphs into Enter Sandman (as if to remind us that Metallica’s Australian tour is nigh) and then impossibly fast beats, and more sparktacular pyros punctuate our wild applause.
A wall of death is conjured before Death’s Hand and the screech-along during main-set closer Pittsburgh is nuts! The Amity Affliction’s encore is All F-cked Up. “Will you save my life?/ Or just say goodbye?” A victorious finish to an epic Monday night out.