Live Review: The Amity Affliction, 02 Forum Kentish Town, London

The Amity Affliction, Comeback Kid, Alpha Wolf and Mugshot

O2 Forum Kentish Town


Having just released their critically-acclaimed EP Cold Will, Mugshot are very much a band on the upswing, and you get the feeling they know it. Strutting with unbridled confidence they hit the stage exceptionally hard, especially vocalist Ringo who reminds me of a young Freddy Cricien (he of Madball) and he certainly makes his presence felt, but the whole band are on fire; they raise the bar for the rest of the evening and prove the future of heavy music is in safe hands.

Having travelled all the way from Australia (and originally from Tasmania) Alpha Wolf haven’t come to take prisoners, they pick up the gauntlet thrown down by Mugshot, and then run with it. From the very first note they are a full-on sonic assault, a blur of energy and it becomes highly contagious; it doesn’t take long for crowd surfers to crash over the barrier and when the bassist places his instrument into the audience like a sacrificial offering, things really get interesting. Vocalist Lochie Keogh is particularly animated (and could win any gurning championship) and ensures their set goes down exceptionally well.

Each band tonight seems intent to trump those who came before and Canadian hardcore crew Comeback Kid rise to the challenge. Phil Collins’ ‘In The Air Tonight’ is used as an intro and gets the crowd pumped up, but nothing can prepare us for the musical explosion that is the Kid. It feels as if a bomb has been detonated inside the Forum and the band send shards of sonics in every direction. They operate like headliners and immediately take ownership of the stage, delivering each song like a well aimed punch with ‘Talk Is Cheap’ hitting with deft precision. Such is their frenetic performance that they look visibly drained at the set’s conclusion, departing sweat-soaked and a few kilos lighter!

It seems like only yesterday that The Amity Affliction last toured the UK (it was, in fact, January 2023, along with a set at this year’s Download), but it transpires we can never get enough of their unique brand of metalcore. Such is the buzz surrounding the band that even their backdrop gets a huge cheer as it’s raised when the stage is being prepared. But that’s nothing compared to the roar that greets the band when they finally appear, it is as if all the tension has been released, like floodgates opening, and good vibes radiate towards the stage. The strong connection between The Amity Affliction and their fans primarily comes from the band’s brutally honest lyrics; the themes of alienation and anxiety are themes to which many can relate and it creates a strong bond. Joel Birch sings with such conviction that you can see the pain etched in his face and his words are supplemented nicely by co-vocalist, and bassist, Ahren Stringer (who gets extra points for wearing a Young Ones T-shirt; that’s Rik Mayall et al, not Cliff Richard!). After the blitzkrieg aesthetic of the previous bands, The Amity Affliction have a more measured approach and pace themselves for the long haul. They have just the right amount of production; smoke and sparks shoot from the stage at optimum moments, but never to the point of overshadowing the music, that comes first (as it should). The Amity Affliction are worthy headliners, they send the crowd home happy and eagerly awaiting their return.

Review and photos by Peter Dennis