LIVE: Never Say Die Tour 2015 @ Manchester Academy 2

By Joe Sheridan

Having never been to see any of the previous incarnations of the Never Say Die tour, in the past having been headlined by such notable acts as Parkway Drive and Architects, this stacked bill had yet another interesting mix. The tour has always been known for helping smaller acts and giving them a step up, and yet again it has not failed to offer up a pallet of up and coming diverse acts. First up is Burning Down Alaska hailing from Deutschland, who with ambient undertones set to metallic riffs, set the tone for the evening. The unrelenting on surge of screams are sometimes a bit too unrelenting in places, but the ambient sprinkles do the band justice, albeit the backing track of clean vocals playing during Phantoms does not. Overall the band have a sound that with time and patience could see them going on to create some potentially unique music.

Fit For A King bring more bass drops, more riffs, but sadly the vocals get lost, as do the back up vocals. Most importantly, and as an FYI, if you are going to sing back ups know how to sing in key. It’s painful to watch as the back up singer tries, but the lasting impression is lackluster. The sound as implied by the previous paragraph sounds “big”, but overall the because of their only being one guitarist, in this writer’s opinion the sound lacks that big punch. The bass does well to fill in the rhythm, but doesn’t do the band the justice it should. Overall the band left much to be desired.

Cruel Hand offer up a dose of hard hitting hardcore at its best! Bringing some more groves to tonight’s proceedings, Cruel Hand is a different breed from what else the audience had witnessed so far, but hit just as hard! Having been a band that started in playing in your local dives, to having a sold out crowd to contend with, the band take the bull by the horns and do a sublime job.

The atmosphere in the room instantly changed when Being As An Ocean began stepped to the stage, with the crowd eating out of the palm of their hand the minute they started. Joel, the singer instantly is face to face with the crowd, running from side of the barrier the other throughout the set, and for the first time tonight we saw the crowd becoming livelier. If music is escapism, then Being As An Ocean are the epitome of that, from being an outsider looking in, you could tell instantly why this band means so much to many of the crowd tonight from the release it quite literally gives the audience.

It’s been sometime since I last saw Defeater, some five years and to seem them performing to tonight’s crowd is a sight to see. Whilst the band who have changed dramatically from being a five piece to now a four, the sound has not faltered, but, either the crowd are worn out from Being As An Ocean, or most are unaware of the band, thus, causing a shift in the mood to change. The band soldier on irregardless of this and perform a belter of a set, capping off with ‘The Red White, and Blues’.

The anticipation in the room for tonight’s headliners is at an all time high now, but before the show could commence, there was a brief speech given by the leader of the organization known as Hope For The Day. It was a rousing speech, both inspiring and sad but for someone to dedicate their time to promoting awareness for suicide prevention is always commendable.

After the speech came the moment every one in the crowd had been waiting for. The Amity Affliction came out with a bang! And ironically from the somber moment the band had metaphorically lifted everyone’s spirits, with all smiles from lead vocalist Joel as he watched on, as the crowds loved every second of it. Ahren, the bassist and backup vocalist helped the songs to soar, going from hard-hitting guttural screams, to luscious melodies. Although the band’s sound at times was hard to differentiate between the plethora of bands in the metal core genre, with the support this band has, and their ability to sell out the majority of the UK dates on this tour, it’s quite obvious to tell that this band will be performing to larger crowds the next time they visit our shores.