Never Say Die tour has become a praised institution for all the hardcore souls, here in Europe. As one of them, we couldn’t miss out, and made our way to the Trix in Antwerp (BE). And rightfully so, because this year, they brought Australia’s The Amity Affliction, as headliners, alongside Defeater, Being As An Ocean, Cruel Hand, Fit For A King and Burning Down Alaska, as the promising and proud represent ants of the European scene.
Burning Down Alaska had the hard task to awaken an already nearly packed room. This freshly born band, probably unknown to most of the people in front of the them, were a real added value to the lineup. The germans succeeded on keeping the focus of most of the room. Their heartfelt melodic hardcore, reminiscent of The Amity Affliction‘s work, made the trick and managed to catch attention. Burning Down Alaska was without any doubt a great discovery for us. If you missed them at Never Say Die, you should also know that the band will be headlining a nice tour in Europe, with Casey and Acres next year!
Fit For A King brought a different approach and new taste to the night, a renewed and strong metalcore, that caused the first waves in the crowd. People started moving, as the pit opened and the moshing kicked off. The set didn’t last long, but we’d say it was satisfying and just enough to slowly heat up a room, early evening.
Cruel Hand, aka the real deal represented hardcore with a capital “H”. Strong, powerful and with a hint of crazy, that’s how you can qualify what this band has offered us. The energy from everyone on stage, and especially singer Chris Linkovich, was communicative, surely as he looked like a maniac on stage (we love that for sure). Inevitably, it made the moves in the crowd and the temperature in the room increase in a heart beat.
Never Say Die! festival also serves as a platform to share a message of acceptance and raise awareness amongst this scene about mental health issues. Jonny Boucher was representing Hope For The Day on this tour, for the second year in a row, speaking on stage about suicide prevention and encouraging people to come and talk about their issues and ask for help. Because in the end, “It’s ok not to be ok.”
Being As An Ocean, once again, delivered. And from the very second Joel joined the fans in the front row, everyone got held under a spell. Truthfully, they took us all by the guts, showering us with emotion and handling us their souls as an open book. And it’s always what their music has been, an open book from a tortured and tormented soul. And how can anyone refuse an invitation to such depth and realness? Everyone yelled the lyrics, everyone clapped and everyone put their hearts out. We felt the love from both sides.
Up next were Defeater, and we were immediately struck by the amount of rage and power delivered. Derek Archambault was looking more illuminated than ever. The energy spreading within the stage and the rest of the room was obviously fueled by the musicians’ passion, although, Jay Maas’ absence didn’t go unnoticed. But we will have to live with that now.. The depth, that makes Defeater‘s music is, could break you, but at the same time, light a majestic fire in your heart (‘My lips spit venom and poison, All lies except when speaking of Love’). It’s always a huge pleasure to see these guys perform. They’ll never let you down, but you’ll never get enough of Defeater.
Around 10, the main course of the diner was served. The Amity Affliction were greeted with a most excited fans. And we have to say that the australians’ recognition in our shores has grown remarkably fast in less than two years. With each comeback, the venues are twice the size. Their performance was, as usual, nearly flawless, the duality between Joel Birch andAhren Stringer always working its magic, and can only please the ears. The Amity Affliction always have a way to bring a unique energy to the room, owning the stage and the present moment, … They displayed mostly songs from their latest release ‘Let The Ocean Take Me‘, with only two songs from the previous one, Chasing Ghosts and Open Letter.
To sum up, we could see and feel the commitment of every band and person on this tour and it is a true statement of how music will always help people unite and stick together.