Amber Run came to Southampton! How obliging are its members to their audience.
The avenue was packed, the audience crisp and ready. After what seems like a short amount of time now but was almost an eternity then, Amber Run, following the lead-in, Meadows Lark, and the supporting band, Island, takes the stage to a ready and warmed up audience.
The night kicked off courtesy of Meadows Lark a group is composed by two young and talented musicians who show a lot of promise. The guy showed his multi-instrumentalism by switching instrument with ease. The girl, did a great job taking us from cold to festive using her humour, attitude and voice.
After this initiation, Island took the stage. The atmosphere was ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ and all I can say is they delivered. The vocalist has a great powerful voice, the drummer a strong handshake, the bassist a mop head he really knows how to shake up, and the guitarist spits those licks out like a Lickitung. Overall their a solid band. Their music can best be described as chill-out type music, best at small gatherings or a tête-à-tête with a close friend. The members effectively, chilled out with fans after the gig and I got to talk to the bassist whose a genuine lovely guy. The drummer shook my hand and almost broke it. JK. Particularly memorable thanks to the singer was their rendition of ‘All You Ever Needed Was Love’. His scream really comes out here which I think is great. If you don’t know them yet, check out their songs on Youtube, live at the distillery or on their channel: Island.
After what was shaping up to be a great Valentines day, Amber Run took the stage and knocked everybody’s socks right of by starting big with ‘Spark’, the song has an amazing drum piece which instantly grabbed the audience and put them in the mood for claps, arm waving, jumping and dancing. The next song proved just as effective. Along with the light spectacle Engine Rooms was putting on, with ‘Pilot’ the crowd goes absolutely mental lifting their arms and clapping along.
I feel the same tracks on Youtube do not do justice to this band live. The energy and pure enjoyment they bring is outstanding, with a special nod to Joe, the bands lead vocalist. You can feel his good heartedness from a mile away, and also that he likes going hard on that guitar.
After two more songs he asks the audience “How are we doing?”. A thundering cheer is the response. You can tell they are all veterans and real comfortable on stage. Tom, the bassist, is chilling with what seems like tooth pick in his mouth. The drummer looked like he was keeping the beat with an old tongue trick a jazz man told me. Henry was amazing on keys, and Will gave his guitar messy looks and helped everyone keep in tip-top shape. Together they blended into a solid sonic wall, a landscape of different sounds that evoked different moods, sometimes lifting their audience up with absolute bangers from their new album, which almost achieves a ‘technoey’ feel because it makes the audience jump in a way which is more typical of Skrillex, and at other times with songs like ‘Haze’ they transmit a blue melancholy feel. Throughout the night Joe spoke of hard times, rad and surf. It was surprising how intently everyone payed attention when he spoke. He handled it very gracefully and showed much appreciation throughout the night. Particularly good and powerful were the lyrics of their song ‘I found’, which goes particularly well in the context of a live gig.
I caught up with the audience after the concert and everyone was delighted. Recurring words were ‘amazing’ and ‘excellent’. There was one girl I spoke to who said she had seen them before in Southampton, two years prior. She thought they were better this time around.
After the gig, the guys planned to go to Northampton, half way up to Newcastle which is the next leg of the tour, where they were going to spend one day off. The guys from Island were going to London where they are based before advancing themselves towards Newcastle. Overall I learned that the more you participate and go along with the band, the better time you will have as an audience. As Ed Sheeran would say, “My job is to entertain you, your job is to be entertained”. Best of luck Amber Run, Island, and Meadows Lark. I hope to see you more around Southampton. Thank you for playing to us.