Aussie hard rock more popular than ever

August 20, 2015 5:23 pm 0 comments Views: 1
Rock on ... Amity Affliction step up to arenas for their final tour of 2015. Picture; Sup

Rock on … Amity Affliction step up to arenas for their final tour of 2015. Picture; Supplied.
Source: Supplied

YOU know a tour is big when its official announcement is pre-empted by a leak. And people are excited about it.

That was the case earlier this week when rumours circulated online that Australian melodic hardcore band chart-toppers Amity Affliction would be joining with their American mates A Day To Remember for a run of concerts in December.

The tour is a milestone for the Australian band, putting them into the same arenas hosting Sam Smith, Cold Chisel, Elton John and Oprah that month.

It also signals that hard rock, and we are talking the kind of music which is best played at volume of 11, is doing big business in Australia despite what the gatekeepers of the airwaves may think.

Amity Affliction’s album Let The Ocean Take Me went to No. 1 with gold sales last year before the band headed out on a sold-out tour of Australian beer barns and the first of several legs of shows in America and Europe.

Just back home from the Warped tour in America, vocalist and bassist Ahren Stringer said joining forces with A Day To Remember, with support acts Motionless In White and The Ghost Inside, gave them the “muscle” to stage the biggest tour of their career.

Naming rights ... American band A Day To Remember won the battle to call it the Big Ass T

Naming rights … American band A Day To Remember won the battle to call it the Big Ass Tour. Picture: Supplied.
Source: Supplied

“It’s pretty mind-blowing because we never thought we would be playing venues of this size,” Stringer says.

“I never thought this kind of music would get as popular as it is has. When we were telling our friends about the (arena) tour, they didn’t believe it. The most common response was ‘Holy s …!’”

Fans of the heavier brands of music, whether hardcore, metalcore or any of the subgenres under the umbrella of hard rock, are fiercely loyal.

They buy the new albums the week they come out and in enough volume for a top 10 debut.

Since Amity Affliction released their last record in June, their Australian heavy rock peers Northlane claimed No. 1 with Node, Thy Art Is Murder debuted at No. 7 with Holy War and Skydancer by In Hearts Wake peaked at No.2. Dead Letter Circus are expected to debut in the top 10 this weekend with their hypermelodic third album Aesthesis.

Chart toppers ... Northlane debuted at No. 1 with their latest album Node a few weeks ago

Chart toppers … Northlane debuted at No. 1 with their latest album Node a few weeks ago. Picture: Peter Kelly.
Source: News Corp Australia

The devotion to hard rock music in Australia and demand to see it played on the big stages has kept the annual Soundwave event afloat as the other major national festivals which don’t target a niche audience struggled to survive.

Stringer said most forms of heavy rock are far more accessible than people suspect.

“Heavy music is becoming more and more popular and we are getting people from 16 — or younger — to 60 because I think they do find it is more community based,” he said.

“The fans feel connected in a way because it is positive music with generally positive lyrics which I think is a key factor.”

The closest hard rock gets to decent airplay is late night specialist shows on community stations but Triple J has been featuring more local acts across their programming with Northlane and Dead Letter Circus scoring the coveted feature album of the week recently.

The DIY ethic of the genre’s protagonists works in their favour because it creates a more direct link with fans via social media and shows.

“For a lack of a better word, we are self made and social media helps with that. We’ve never been given a leg-up by bigger Australian bands in our career or scored much support from the mainstream and I think it’s great to know we have got to this level on our own,” Stringer says.

While they are the bigger band on the bill, Amity Affliction lost a very Australia versus America cultural war over the naming of their joint tour with A Day To Remember.

It is called the Big Ass tour.

What happened to arse?

“We tried to tell the A Day To remember guys that you don’t spell arse like that in Australia. But the kids on the internet these days do spell it as ass. So there’s another word in danger of being Americanised now,” Stringer said.

The Big Ass Tour kicks off at Qantas Credit Union Arena, Sydney on December 12 and then heads ti Perth Arena on December 14, Adelaide Entertainment Centre on December 16, Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne on December 17 and The Riverstage, Brisbane on December 19. Tickets are on sale from September 1.

www.news.com.au/entertainment/music

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