Review by Stephen Pearson with Photography by Chris Ensell

The Kerrang! Tour has always been a great showcase for new bands some of which have gone onto greater things such as Biffy Clyro, Bring Me The Horizon and All Time Low. Now in it’s 12th Year Kerrang continue to promote new bands and tonight is no exception with a very diverse line-up.

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Casey

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First up we have Casey from South Wales who blend Hardcore Punk with alternative rock. They released their Debut Album ‘Love Is Not Enough’ in September 2016 and will be releasing their new album ‘Where I Go When I Am Sleeping’ in March 2018. It is always difficult being the opening act as the venue is still filling up as they take to the stage at 7:10pm. ‘Teeth’ is a slow and atmospheric track with a gradual build up and I notice straight away that the sound as usual is always on point at this venue. By contrast ‘Hell’ is a much heavier and up-tempo track and is almost spoken word in parts. They finish with ‘Little Bird’ and thankfully a few more have arrived to see a great closing track and the highlight of their set. They seem to be a very shy band with the singer saying at one point “How many of you guys have absolutely no idea who we are? Well thanks anyway for allowing us to play”. It’s almost apologetic, this is the Kerrang! Tour and you have to take opportunities like this with both hands!

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Vukovi

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Shyness is definitely not something you would say about alternative rock band Vukovi. They blaze onto the stage and launch into ‘La Di Da’ taken from their superb self-titled album which was released back in March. Hailing from Scotland, they are actually the band I am looking forward to the most tonight and they do not disappoint. Lead singer Janine Shilstone is working the crowd encouraging everybody to dance and enjoy themselves. She reminds me of Gwen Stefani and the band look like they are really enjoying themselves. They are the least heavy band on the bill tonight but are definitely the most energetic. ‘And He Lost His Mind’ and ‘Animal’ get a great reaction and by the end of their set, the crowd are fully on board. They have delivered a great set and will have definitely gained a few new fans tonight as noted by the packed merchandise stall after their performance!

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Boston Manor

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The venue is filling up nicely as Boston Manor take to the stage. A 5 piece from Blackpool, they released their Debut Album ‘Be Nothing’ a year ago. 2017 has been a good year for them with appearances at Reading and Leeds, Slam Dunk Festival and also the VANS Warped tour in the USA. They are also working on a new album expected to be released next year. As with Vukovi, lead singer Henry Cox is encouraging everyone right from the off and it is clear to see that the crowd are up for these guys. ‘Lead Feet’ gets a great response as does ‘Broken Glass’, a slower track but the highlight for me of their set. On ‘Burn You Up’ the moshpit is in full effect and continues during ‘Trapped Nerve’. I was very impressed with them tonight and you would never have thought that they were a support act. They have certainly put everyone in the mood for the headline act!

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The Amity Affliction

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And so to the headliners ‘The Amity Affliction’. They hail from Queensland, Australia and have released 5 albums to date. For me it was a strange choice for headliner purely because Kerrang have tended to go with one big act in previous years. Sum 41, Don Broco, Limp Bizkit have headlined the previous 3 years and all shows were completely sold out. None of the venues have sold out on this tour and tonight is about two-thirds full. Just before they take to the stage we have ‘Without Me’ by Eminem blasted out over the PA and then ‘Starships’ by Nicky Minaj. It’s a strange choice as they take to the stage and launch into their metalcore but it has put us all in a good mood anyway! They kick off their set with ‘I Bring the Weather with Me’ the opening track from their most recent album ‘This Could Be Heartbreak’. There is a good contrast in vocal style between lead singer Joel Birch (unclean vocals) and Ahren Stringer on bass (clean vocals).

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On ‘Open Letter’ the crowd are singing the words back to the band and are clearly up for it! ‘Death’s Hand’ gets a big response and there is a full circle pit throughout the track. This track is taken from their 2014 Album ‘Let the Ocean Take Me’ and half of their set is from this album tonight. They also announce to a chorus of boos that they won’t be back for a year after this which would indicate that they will be busy working on their next album. They finish with the title track from their most recent album ‘This Could Be Heartbreak’ which again gets a great response. I have to say I was surprised they didn’t come back to play one or two more tracks as the crowd were really calling for it but perhaps the curfew had been reached! As previously mentioned it was a surprise for me that they were headlining but the hardcore fans are going home happy and that is what counts. Whether they acquire new followers remains to be seen as I felt that their set was a little rushed and it didn’t feel like a band who are headlining what should be a massive tour.

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So as the night ends I reflect on an excellent set from Vukovi, a very good set from Boston Manor but just felt that the other two bands could have given a bit more.

The Amity Affliction Setlist:

I Bring the Weather with Me
Open Letter
Lost & Fading
Never Alone
Chasing Ghosts
The Weigh Down
All Fu**ed Up
Death’s Hand
Shine On
Pittsburgh
Don’t Lean On Me
This Could Be Heartbreak

See the complete The Kerrang! Tour 2017 photoset here.

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