06.With their much awaited debut album set to be released next month, this stop on The Amazons two-month tour across Europe and the UK saw them stop off at Manchester’s Deaf Institute, a venue that is close to my heart. Out of all the venues across Manchester, it may not be the biggest, but it’s certainly one of the most intimate. The Amazons performance however, would’ve felt as at home in arena, as it did in Deaf Institute, putting on a show full of unapologetically powerful basslines and arena-sized riffs.
The set opened with the band’s newest single Black Magic and it wasn’t long before the mosh pit opened up. I say the mosh pit opened up, near enough the entirety of the intimate venue’s floor became a mosh pit as people from the back surged forward to get in on the action. Along with many, of the bands songs, Black Magic is all about the massive riff that follows the chorus. Everything else in the song feels like a build up towards that riff and The Amazons make those moments when it hits some of the most memorable of the night.
What excited me so much about this band going into this gig is how well the emphasis of the riffs such as the one in Black Magic come across on the recordings. My hope was that if it sounded that good on the recorded version, then it would sound amazing live. My wish was fulfilled. It is clear that the reason these songs sound so good is not solely because of how much the producer has been able to get out of the songs when recording. The production value on their recorded tracks is brilliant, as a side note (Something I’m sure will become more evident upon the release of their album), but it is testament to the musicianship of the Reading four-piece that their music not only retains that power, but that it is added to in a live environment.
It isn’t just in Black Magic where this is evident, previous singles Little Something and In My Mind are two other perfect examples of just how much of an impact a good riff can have on a crowd (the riff from In My Mind is one of the best I’ve heard since the start of the 21st century, never mind the decade). I hasten to add The Amazons are much more than just heavy-riff merchants, however. Two stand out songs of the set, Nightdriving and Ultraviolet, give off more of an indie tone, meaning the gig is more than just straight-up riffs and noise.
There were a few songs that won’t be heard anywhere else but live until the release of their album that were played, which all held up against the already high standard of their previously released tracks. From what I heard on the night, fans are in for a treat when the album is released. The set finished on Something in The Water, which was an interesting choice. It starts off a bit slower than most of their other songs and the last song isn’t normally a place to slow things down (albeit only ever so slightly). This works in the bands favour though, as when it does fully get into the meatier section towards the end it leaves an impact with the crowd that they will carry with them. This gig stuck with me more than any gig has done for a while.
If the music industry is anything, it is unpredictable, so many things can change. However, based off this performance I can’t see how The Amazons don’t become a huge band. Their songs were made to fill arenas and whether they make it to that level or not, I can guarantee you won’t be seeing them in a venue the size of Deaf Institute again once their album is released.