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Joel Birch On The Warped Tour USA 2013

Where to start… We first heard we were going to be doing Warped not long after our tour in Australia with Architects and TGI, which worked out awesome as Dan from Architects had just messaged me (literally, about ten minutes prior) saying that if we got an offer we should share a bus, so without a thought we of course said yes and then began shitting ourselves about the prospect of spending just under two months on a bus in the middle of the US summer. 

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The tour convoy, Amity and Architects at the back, While She Sleeps in front. Somehow these drivers can reverse park these fuckers, I have no idea how. That bike lost some tread on the bitumen it was that hot there, the heat was insane.

The first day of tour was great, Seattle has, for whatever reason, always been good for us, it was a good start, plenty of PMA to go around. I suffered jet lag for the first time in my life, it was ridiculous. Id wake up at 6am, be awake for two hours, figure the only way to get back to sleep was to have a few drinks so Id have a few Jamesons on the rocks while watching TV and then hit the hay again. The only trouble with that is that you only find out when youre playing each day at 9:30am, so I got a rude shock one day waking up drunk and hungover and having to play a show in an hours time; lets just say I didnt feel tip top. After playing the shows that first week I was passing out at around 5/6pm and waking up again to a raging bus at about 10/11pm and re-joining the festivities. Healthy living.

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Sam and Ali sharing a moment.

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A rare sight. Ahren face deep in a cup of whiskey.

After the success of the first show we were all feeling great going into the second show, which was in Portland, Oregon. I cant remember exactly which slot we got that day, Im fairly sure it was an early-ish one though. Everything was fine, we did the usual pre-show garbage, hanging around the stage, talking shit etc. We got through the first song and the crowd was great, everyone was having a great time, then half way through the second song Ryans drum stick snapped and the part that wasnt in his hand flew past his eye, clipping it, sharp edge first, and taking a piece of his cornea with it. We thought hed just lost a stick or something which isnt rare for drummers at all so kept playing, but then our drum tech looked at him and he had his hand over his eye and blood was coming from between his fingers - hectic. With that I made a mumbled and awkward apology about playing one and a half songs and we bailed. Ryan was taken to hospital where the doctor told him hed be coming back the next day to get stitches put in his eye. With that great news our tour manager Eric told us we could stay across the road from his girlfriends work. That ended up being pretty hilarious - or fucked, depending on how you looked at it - because we stayed in the middle of nowhere across the road from a truckies strip club hahaha

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Ryan after his visit to the doctor. Not a happy camper.

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This is what Ryans eye looks like. He said that its like looking at a 3D movie at the cinema without the glasses on, that sounds fucked!

With the departure of Ryan back home we had to scramble to get a drummer sussed otherwise we were just pissing on money and would be on a two month bender, not the worst idea, but luckily we had a legend of a drum tech, Chad Hasty, who wed met on a previous tour as well. Chad went to Berkley College of Music, which is pretty much the best joint in the US for musicians, I guess its kinda like our Conservatory of Music places over here. He chucked headphones on, sat in the back of the bus with our set for a day, and was ready to roll the next day. Absolute wild shit.

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Chad Hasty, the man who saved Amity.

Nothing of too much note happened after that, aside from me calling out that guy Matty Mullins from Memphis May Fire for being a fuckwit, and there was also a little incident where a guy that worked for Vans was racist… He said to Chad, at a signing (at the Vans tent) Oh, I didnt know theyre brought an Aborigine all the way from Australia! WHAT A FUCK HEAD. We didnt hear it at the time, but Chad told us about it afterwards and our tour manager Eric promptly went to the Vans tent and let them know we wouldnt be doing a signing there for the rest of Warped. Were not down with that shit, and wont have a bar of it. Anyway, everything was going fairly smooth until we hit Pittsburgh.

A few days before Pittsburgh Defeater had joined the lineup to replace Attila, I was losing my mind. Theyve been one of my favourite bands since I first heard them after they put out Travels, its still one of the best hardcore records Ive ever heard. Anyway, we became mates with them quickly, which wasnt rare on the Monster stage at Warped, everyone there was pretty rad, but I digress… The night before Pittsburgh a couple of the Defeater guys were on our bus and I was in the mood for getting wasted even more than usual, I think Id been drinking from about 10am that day, and didnt get to bed until about 3am. We went through a few cases of beer, a handle of Jameson and then another half a bottle of something else, I cant quite remember. Anyway, the reason thats even worth mentioning is because Id pretty much neglected to drink a good amount of water that day, which led to some sever dehydration when we hit Pittsburgh. I woke up, drank a water, went outside, spewed, walked a few steps, spewed, ran to the port-a-loo (beautiful environment in 40 degree plus heat) spewed again, discovered I had the shits as well, spewed again, then tried to get back to the bus. Anyone thats read anything about Amity knows that I have anxiety issues, and this was getting to be way too much for me to deal with at this point. About an hour later after countless more spews, and dripping in sweat, looking like shit, Eric took me down to the medic. I was lucky enough on the way down to have a  massive panic attack, which was made super cool by the fact I had it beside the fence where the whole crowd could see me. Genius. A few bags of saline solution later and I was able to walk without feeling dizzy so we bailed back to the bus, I had another panic attack on the way there because I thought I was about to die, great stuff. When I got back to the bus I spewed again and the guys were starting to get pretty concerned about my well being. They asked if I wanted to go the hospital, and thats about the last thing I remember before waking up in an ambulance on the way to hospital. It turns out I had a massive seizure, nearly broke my neck as I fell down the stairs of the bus - Eric caught me on the way down luckily - then proceeded to turn blue and salmon out the shit hole onto the floor as Ahren put it so eloquently a few days later. Eric shoved his belt in my mouth to stop me from biting my tongue off, I pissed my pants, and off to hospital I went. It was more than dehydration that saw me nearly heading off to prove the Christians wrong about hell, but thats another story entirely.

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Eric, the life saving, scary looking Mexican.

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Always in control, Eric behind the helm on an off day.

After that little incident, a few of our friends in other bands decided Amity couldnt miss too many shows, so they decided to fill in. I was back for one of the two shows that happened and got to watch our band from out the front, it was really fucking weird. Sam from Architects, Jason from Letlive and Chris from Like Moths To Flames all learned a song or two each and covered my ass, and they did a damn fine job considering they learned that all in one day with no jams at all. 

Just when we thought the eyeball incident and the salmon incident had to be all wed have to deal with on tour Dan woke up shivering, dizzy, and could barely talk, the tour was getting ridiculous. Off to hospital with him and we discover hes got a bad case of strep throat (I still dont really know what that is) and we had to sit another few shows out. Were just over half way through the tour at this point and thought the next logical step was for someone to die, but luckily that didnt happen hahaha The rest of the tour was super fun, Ill let the pictures do the talking now, I think Ive waffled on enough. I can safely say that Warped was one of the best tours Ive ever done in my life, and I would go back in a heart beat, but damn it feels good to get back home.

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Back at home with my dog, Dondi.

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Chad relaxing on the lake somewhere in Missouri. We got to hire a boat and go wake boarding, found a cliff to jump off and basically had the best off day ever.

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This particular invention is like an invite to have the shit beat out of you while getting towed behind a boat. We werent even going fast when I took this, this thing really fucks you up.

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I dont think I need to say too much about this…

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Living.

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This is our sound guy Justin and our stage manager Jonny. We were lucky on our stage, everyone there was an absolute legend. Jonny had some dice with him everyday, I lost a lot of money to his wallet playing C-Lo.

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Derek from Defeater, hands down the best band on Warped.

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Myself and Jonny.

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Standard. Jason from Letlive, shoeless in Seattle.

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Troy wasnt allowed into the states for over a year because of a minor weed charge here in Australia. This is what has come to be known as solidifying his visa. Smoking a sneaky scoob before heading to stage.

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Wall of Death.

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Jonny and Ahren.

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Sam from Architects.

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Letlive.

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I couldnt stop laughing at this dude, thats the face he was pulling from the back of the crowd all the way to the front during Architects hahaha.

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This guy had to be on meth hahaha He was going fucking WILD.

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Sam, Tampa, Florida. This venue was amazing. There were dolphins playing around all morning, and the view from our stage was over a marina directly in front, then the open ocean to the left. Its awesome when we get to play those places overseas, I miss the ocean like nothing else when were away.

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Dedicated to the shot hahaha What a wild man.

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Oli. Bring Me The Horizon were MASSIVE, Ive never seen anything like it.

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This is Slim, the creator of the best Bury Your Dead riff, and the best mosh riff. Ever. And hes a straight up legend.

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Ahren wearing Travis Blackleys $30,000 World Series ring. $30k! What the fuck! Thats like a whole years salary! More for some people hahaha.

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Off days were spent at a hotel most of the time so we could do washing and shit, because there werent too many off days. This just meant drinking by the pool for most of us and trying to beat the heat. 

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The merch guy for Architects, Max, making the most of time away from that tent in the background.

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Smashing coconuts somewhere… The height of boredom, trapped in a car park, nothing to do… 

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Sam and Ali in our Movie Club. If we had a rough hangover often times wed retreat to the bunks and chuck a movie on, its a good jam, even though the space is super tight.

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Dan.

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Ahren loves baseball. Hes obsessed with it, so whenever we get a chance to head to a batting cage, thats where were going. This was the first day in Florida from memory, at kids park that was in the middle of nowhere. Lucky we had our trusty Study Break (flask full of whiskey) with us this day.

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Tom hydrating before dehydrating.

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And Ali…

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Aaaand Aaron, Ahren and Vassar doing the same…

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And thats Crossfaith. I suggest you head to the BMTH shows to check them out, theyre fucking wild. Drunk Japanese dudes who can barely speak English are HILARIOUS. 

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This is Jason from Letlive and I... Lost those shorts too, theyre the ones I had on when I had a seizure and pissed my pants hahaha.

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Jump.

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Shot by Danny Todd.

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Shot by Danny Todd.

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Shot by Danny Todd.

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