In the past, the Never Say Die! tour has been sponsored by PETA, but this year’s good cause is mental health issues.
Impassioned speeches on seeking support come later in the evening from the likes of Joel Quartuccio and Joel Birch, but the opening acts make sure the vibe is positive from the start. German metalcore outfit BURNING DOWN ALASKA  may not be a household name in the UK yet, but they soon will be. Sharp, clear guitar lines weave their way through jagged fuzz and melodic sections, giving shades of In Hearts Wake and Parkway Drive to their sound. Judging by the reaction, they’ve just won themselves a legion of fans. FIT FOR A KING  may have, by their own admission, been waiting four years to play in the UK, but the melodic hardcore troupe don’t elicit as much energy from the crowd, despite impressively quick double-pedal work.
CRUEL HAND  are a lot more fun than you’d expect from a hardcore punk band – frontman Chris Linkovich’s moves and delivery are almost Fred Durst-esque at times, but the erratically changing rhythms between bursts of retro punk are more confusing than exciting. The crowd’s reaction to BEING AS AN OCEAN , who open with the heartwrenching Little Richie, suggests they’re the main draw tonight. Joel works the crowd with ease as he spends the entire set among them, and performs with the passion of a man who means every word he sings. Several hundred voices join him on closer This Loneliness Won’t Be The Death Of Me – a poignant track given the theme of the evening. DEFEATER  may not be making speeches, but they do stand out as being a band who aren’t afraid to do their own thing. Their mix of hardcore breakdowns, rhythmic shifts and bursts of melody come across well live, although Derek Archambault is a man of few words between songs.
Ending the evening on a high are THE AMITY AFFLICTION , who unite the crowd in mass singalongs to the likes of Open Letter, Chasing Ghosts and Death’s Hand. Their sound might be a slightly cheesy mix of BMTH and Fall Out Boy, but live, it’s impossible not to be entertained by them. The Never Say Die tour has grown a formidable reputation as a career-launching show, and tonight, they proved they’re still doing it right.