The band The Amity Affliction means so much to me. With all Oct. 1 aside, this band gave me the strength to move on. This story is through my eyes. As a concert goer, I want others to feel what it’s like to be at a show.
A friend and I braved the October 2016 storm threats for a growling long, three-hour drive to Portland’s Hawthorne Theater. We arrived around 4:15 p.m. near check in time, lining up with a crowd of people gathering around the front entrance.
The forecast rain then started to pour down as we waited outside for the doors to open. About 5:30 p.m., at last we were greeted by staff and given instructions on what to do next. As we made our way down the corridor, some anxiety set in. With my gut in my chest, I walked into a smoky room with a front stage toward my right and a bar to my left. The stage crew was running late, running frantically across the stage trying to get the first band out.
The opening band was Deadships, a Chicago based band that packs a pretty big wallop. David Kvistad, vocalist, was ready to get the night started, commanding the crowd to open the pit.
Deadship’s sound is a mix of gut wrenching screams, heavy breakdowns and a little bit of synth for atmosphere. We were off to a good start, and as the night went on, the crowd was in full spirit.
Next up was Trophy Eyes, a small band trying to make a name for themselves. Hauling all the way from Australia, the band consists of John (vocals), Pokket (guitar), Jeremy (bass), and Callum (drums). John was in his element, jumping around in freeform motion. Trophy Eyes’ sound is a unique time capsule of the past, with well-structured lyrics and the punk up tones and jarring movement that punk ensues. A delightful treat for people that like an easy listen.
So far so good, we were halfway through the night when we were presented with a band called “Hundredth.” Take it from a kid who grew up listening to hardcore — Hundredth brings the energy and composure that is expected through the genre. A quick search on Google shows that hardcore at its deepest meaning stands for a movement. As music goes, hardcore is a brotherhood that is united to bring down repression and educate others about worldly issues. Hundredth’s sound is very aggressive. There are moments of silence in between breaths, but for the most part, Hundredth gives it their all.
At this point in the show everybody is moving at a rapid pace, spiraling out of control. People are running to the stage to engage in the monumental phenomenon that is crowd surfing. Clocking in at about a 30-minute set, Hundredth then gasped their last breath for the night.
I began to walk to the bar for a drink, returning with Red Bull and vodka in hand. As the next band began to set up, I looked across the room at a sea of people. Catching my breath, I pushed my way back up to the front. The lights started to dim, and the next band was ready to start. Only this time there was a different vibe in the room. As the next band started to play, through the music we began to see a change in the tone of the crowd. The band Being as an Ocean can be best described as a poetic journey into the mind of a broken soul who sees hope through the eyes of the world.
Lead singer Joel Quartuccio almost brought us to tears as he spilled his deepest, darkest secrets onto the stage. As a person who battles depression, I can go on to say music is the only thing that keeps the world in check for me. As the band’s Being as an Ocean name states, we are all just a body of souls trapped in a fragile world that needs some redeeming. Being as an Ocean is a sight to be seen. From the poetic heartfelt lyricism to the melancholy atmospheric vibe, we the audience were truly set free of our past mistakes and regrets, transported into a dream-like state of mind.
Last but not least made it to the end of the night with the main attraction, The Amity Affliction. The Amity Affliction is an Australian hardcore band from Glypsie, formed in 2002. The current line up consists of Ahren Stringer (vocals/bass), Joel Birtch (vocals), Ryan Burt (drums) and Dan Brown (lead guitar). The Amity Affliction have released a total of five full-length albums including “Severed Ties,” “Youngbloods,” “Chasing Ghosts,” “Let the Ocean Take Me” and their current release “This Could Be Heartbreak.” As a result of a near death experience, Ahren wrote “Let the Ocean Take Me.”
They opened their set with “I Bring the Weather with Me” then performed “Open Letter” as their second song ( would have to say they did truly bring the weather with them to Portland).
Ahren Stringer poured his emotions onto the stage. As the show raged on, the crowd was ignited. Hit after hit, The Amity Affliction screamed from the top of their lungs, getting everybody in the mood. “This Could Be Heartbreak,” the title off their new album of the same name, was the go-to anthem for the night. Mid-set, they started to slow things down by introducing a ballad called “All F@#$% Up.” When we all thought there could be no more, Amity then surprised us with some older classics from their past albums and closed out the show with one of the crowd’s favorites: “Pittsburg.”
The hardest part for me as a UCC student was the struggle last year for me and my Mainstream family, but through the power of music I have made it through. The Amity Affliction was instrumental to my healing.