The Amity Affliction + Obey The Brave + For The Fallen Dreams @ La Tulipe, Montreal

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Tonight’s line-up has changed somewhat since this show was announced. Japanese trailblazers Crossfaith are sadly nowhere to be seen and Favourite Weapon were unlucky enough to have their passports stolen, meaning they couldn’t cross the border into Canada. Thankfully, there is still enough talent on stage tonight to ensure La Tulipe is packed out with excited fans.

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For The Fallen Dreams are a melodic hardcore outfit from Michigan who waste no time in proving they’re the real deal, with their relentless chugging rhythms causing some early movement amongst the fans up front. Chad Ruhlig makes for a formidable frontman, encouraging circle pits and working the crowd expertly as he screams his gravelly lyrics in their faces. The “clean vocal” of guitarist Jim Hocking manages to add an extra layer to the band’s sound without sounding too polished, never softening the intensity of their sound.

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Obey The Brave are in the privileged position of being the only band on the bill playing to their home crowd and, judging by the amount of Obey The Brave shirts in tonight’s audience, it’s a case of preaching to the converted rather than trying to win over new fans. They don’t rest on their laurels for a minute however, bursting onto the stage and launching straight into the call to arms that is Raise Your Voice from their new album, Salvation. Vocalist Alex Erian bounces around the stage constantly and his vocals sound just as impressive live as they do on record. All band members are in fine form tonight, obviously enjoying the chance to play to a hometown crowd who go predictably nuts throughout their all-too-short set.

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Full Circle sounds immense, complete with added vocals from the crowd, and the Montrealers get to play one song in their native French as Garde la Tête Froide keeps heads banging. A rousing Get Real finished things off on a high and Obey The Brave easily solidify their status as local heroes of the hardcore scene.

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A short break has pop music from Taylor Swift, Katy Perry and Carly Rae Jepsen pumped out of the speakers, meaning everyone’s more than ready when The Amity Affliction take to the stage. The Australian metalcore band have been touring relentlessly and it shows. Their sound is slick and full of melody thanks to the mix of Joel Birch’s screamed vocals mixed with the Blink-182-esque voice of bassist Ahren Stringer. For me, Stringer’s vocal is too poppy and over-used during their songs, meaning that, especially after the preceding bands, they sound a little too polished, with harmony winning out to energy.

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Pittsburgh kicks off as they mean to go on with the audience passionately singing back the chorus before Greens Avenue brings out more of the band’s heavy side, although still with the melodic vocals interrupting things to dampen the impact. This constant switch between brutality and melodic singalong hooks is a tried and tested formula for The Amity Affliction and, although I’m obviously in the minority amongst tonight’s crowd, it gets a little too samey for my tastes. There’s no denying they’re accomplished musicians and songwriters though and, with tracks like The Weigh Down adding new layers to their sound, they demonstrate they may have a few new tricks up their sleeves yet.

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As Birch disappears from the stage for a minute, Stringer entertains the crowd with jokes about hand jobs and cheese sandwiches before his bandmate returns. “I feel like shit but you guys are making me feel a whole lot better” declares Birch before Open Letter receives the biggest singalong of the night. The soaring Don’t Lean On Me ends the evening in fine style, they thank the fans and, with no encore, the house lights go up and we’re treated to more cheesy pop music!

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All in all, a great night of heavy music with some healthy variety amongst the bands. Tonight though was a triumph for the locals, with Obey The Brave really demonstrating why they deserve to be headlining tours like this in the not-too-distant future.

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Obey The Brave setlist:
Raise Your Voice
Live and Learn
Lifestyle
Back In The Day
Short Fuse
Full Circle
Garde la Tête Froide
Get Real

The Amity Affliction setlist:
Pittsburgh
Greens Avenue
Chasing Ghosts
Lost & Fading
Youngbloods
Death’s Hand
Never Alone
The Weigh Down
Open Letter
Don’t Lean on Me

Review & photos – Steve Gerrard

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