After a pretty quiet summer gig-wise in Nottingham, we are in full swing again – welcoming back one of the East Midland city’s most successful current bands. Amber Run.
After a September European tour, this is the second date on their 13-show UK run, after opening in Manchester, promoting their third album, “Philophobia” which dropped a few days ago.
A collection of tracks which explore love in all its forms, from the love between friends to the romantic and the physical.
Rock City is the second largest music venue in Nottingham, at 2,000 capacity, after the Motorpoint Arena, and a predominantly young crowd filed into the venue as soon as doors opened.
Not long to wait for the opening band, London-based four-piece Stereo Honey, to kick things off.
Pete Restrick: vocals and guitar, Nicky Boiardi: guitar and keyboards, Ben Edwards: bass, Jake Black: drums, turning out some decent alt/indie stuff.
They built the vibe, first with laid back, slower tempo material, the powerful and intense drum beats and eerie thick smoke and low lighting adding to the atmosphere.
But they then launched into a more up-beat sound, and their exploding and hooky choruses had the crowd dancing and held the attention throughout the half hour set. Stereo Honey’s debut album is slated for a 2020 release, and I predict positive things for this band.
Headliners Amber Run did not keep their home town fans waiting, bounding on to the stage at bang on scheduled time of 8.30pm. The venue just about sold out.
Front man Joshua Keogh on lead vocals and guitar, Tom Sperring on bass and Henry Wyeth behind the keyboards, joined by a drummer and second guitarist for this tour.
The band greeted loudly by screams even before they played a single note. This crowd were well up for it, and the band’s beaming smiles could not disguise their excitement at being back home to deliver the show of their lives; if the gig Gods were smiling down on them tonight.
They opened with “Neon Circus, one of the most energetic tracks from the new album. Heavy guitar riffs got the crowd bouncing for what was indeed a great start to the set.
The pace and tempo dipped for the next two songs, but the performance quality did not. In fact, the band had nearly 2,000 backing singers tonight, when the crowd unanimously sang every word of the two tracks, “Just My Soul Responding” and “Insomniac”. It was quite something.
The audience was totally invested in this band and this show, and at times, many seemed to be fairly mesmerised by the band’s performance. The intensity levels and electric atmosphere increased as the night went on.
The level of engagement from the crowd never waned – people literally singing their hearts out, dancing and clapping as Josh and his mates gave everything they had. The live versions of most of their songs tonight had much more energy than the recordings.
But things calmed right down with “Amen”, which Josh dedicated to a dear friend who had recently passed away after fighting cancer. Just Josh and his electric guitar, picked out in the lights, the rest of the band stood silent while he delivered this emotional track.
The energy level soon raised again, with tracks from all three albums. The noise from the fans and the response they gave this band, was more like this a 20,000 seat arena than Rock City.
The confetti and laser light accompaniment to “Noah” prompted the loudest sing-a-long of the night. I will say, it was perfect sound quality tonight for both bands, the mix spot on.
They finished the main set with “Wastelands”, before leaving the stage to bedlam. No way could they not agree to the deafening yells for more, more, more and chants of “three more songs”.
The people got what the people asked for. “Haze”, “I Found” and “No Answers”, before the band left the stage after 90 cracking minutes, house lights up, and out into the cold night air we went – everyone a lot happier perhaps than when they arrived.
Definitely an ultra-convincing performance, everything true Amber Run fans could’ve asked for. A memorable homecoming and proof it it were needed, that this band have a mahoosive career still in front of them.
This band started out on their career six years ago as they meant to go on. Reaching for the stars. The fourth ever show they played was at Reading Festival in 2013, and they were picked up by legendary record label RCA shortly after that.
Their debut album “5AM” dented the Top 40 UK chart @ #36 in the UK album chart. They began their assault on the US last year and are back there after this UK tour .
They have achieved a staggering following on Spotify. 158 million streams of just five of their songs on there, and 2.2 million regular monthly listeners.
The UK leg of the tour culminates at London’s Roundhouse on the 19th October, before they jet off to America.
It is all there for the taking for Nottingham’s Amber Run, based on the new record and this storming show tonight. Not so much amber as green for go!
- “Neon Circus”
- “Just My Soul”
- “Fickle Game”
- “No One Gets Out Alive”
- “Dark Bloom”
- “What Could Be as Lonely as Love”
- “The Darkness Has a Voice”
- “I Found”
- “No Answers”
Words and photos: Andrea Bottino