Featured Image source: @TheAmazons on Twitter
“I wanna dedicate this to all the c**** on YouTube and Twitter who said I couldn’t sing!”:
The Amazons’ frontman Matt Thomson responded to his critics in pretty blunt fashion at Live at Leeds in April, before the band burst into another song during their short, rip-roaring set. During that gig, it seemed laughable that he wasn’t up to the task of being the bands’ frontman, but, there have been points during some of their televised performances over the year where the critics have spoken up again, and in some places, they maybe had a point.
However, there could be few complaints about what ended up being a great night of live indie rock music at The Riverside, as The Amazons played through their ferocious debut album to a sold-out crowd.
The venue was busy from the start, as local band “The Pale White” played a terrific support set to properly warm up the crowd for the rest of the night. The sight of drummer Jack stood on his drum kit slapping the symbols with the palms of his hands was just one of the things that made it easy to tell that they were loving playing to their hometown crowd. There was certainly appreciation from the crowd as well, many of which knew the bands material and shown their feelings for it. Few artists at this stage of their career manage to get such a lively response as a support act. They haven’t got too much material out there, but they are certainly worth looking more into.
The Amazons are big fans too. Matt wore one of their t-shirts throughout the set and made reference to them multiple times during the show.
The Amazons opened their own set with their most recent single “Ultraviolet”, before “Burn My Eyes” and their terrific album opener “Stay With Me”. “Nightdriving” which was released as a single with Stay With Me last year was also played shortly after. “Raindrops” and “Holy Roller” preceded “Black Magic”, which was interjected in the middle with “Millions (The Party)”; one of the bands earlier singles from 2015 which didn’t make the album. The crowd were well into the gig by this point which Matt took advantage of, testing the crowd’s vocals through getting them to sing back to him before closing Millions and moving back into the end of Black Magic.
The Amazons have come a long way in a short time. Matt took time to recall one of the previous times they played Newcastle and reflected on how far they’ve come: “I remember playing at Think Tank to about ten people, and now we’ve sold out The Riverside”. They then played “Little Something”, one of the more exciting songs in their repertoire, which got what was likely the most energetic reception of the night from the crowd. “In My Mind” came before the album’s penultimate song “Something in the Water”, after which the band briefly left the stage.
Matt returned by himself and sat behind a piano towards the side of the stage. “The rest of the band are outside having a smoke and a packet of crisps so I can pretend I’m a solo artist for a bit” he quipped, before going on to admit “this is the first time I’ve played the piano live so I’m a bit nervous, bear with me”. It didn’t show through though, as he played the album’s final track “Palace” without error. The nerves that have perhaps been the source of criticism were well tamed tonight. Guitarist Chris Alderton re-joined the stage to play the outro of Palace alongside Matt before the rest of the band returned to the stage to finish off the set with “Junk Food Forever”, closing the gig with a victorious singalong.
The Amazons have a lot of momentum at the minute and they still have a lot to look forward to. They embark on a second UK tour next year which includes a hometown gig in Reading, and many are already talking about them as being one of Britain’s next big guitar bands. They have their critics, and as with many British rock artists, ensuring they release a second album that has the same impact as the first could prove to be a struggle, but this gig showed that they are fully capable of putting on a highly energetic and entertaining show. If they continue to perform like this going forward, those critics aren’t going to have much to feed on.