By Katie Hubbard, Second Year Geography
The Amazons returned to Bristol with sophomore album Future Dust in tow, playing to a practically sold out O2 Academy.
On a cold and rainy evening in November you would expect most people to be spending a relaxing evening at home sheltering from the bitterly cold winter weather. However, on Sunday night it felt as if the whole of Bristol had crammed themselves into the 02 academy to see The Amazons. The Reading four piece returned to the South West towards the end of their latest UK tour in support of their second album Future Dust. Despite there still being tickets available it felt like a sell-out gig, with every possible space being taken up by an impressively large crowd of young fans eager to see the anthemic, stadium rock first-hand.
The band emerged onto the impressively lit stage complete with a silhouette of the cave image from the Future Dust album cover, perfectly framing and illuminating drummer Joe Emmett for the entirety of the gig. Starting with new song ‘Fuzzy Tree’ lead singer and guitarist Matt Thomson looked every part the frontman in a specially made black blazer and trouser combo emblazoned with their album artwork. They preceded to play popular hit ‘Mother’ which lead into a captivating game of cat and mouse between a group of young crowd surfers and 02 Academy’s overzealous security guards trying to remove them. This continued for the rest of the night with varying amounts of success for the crowd surfers. Shouts of “Come on Bristol, it doesn’t matter what day it is” from frontman Matt seemed to further inspire the crowd surfers as the band played the frenetic yet melodic ‘25’. The song is one of the strongest off their second album as lyrics of self-doubt and coming of age ring out over the top of blues inspired guitars. The band themselves are obviously aware of the strength of this song as later on they made the surprising decision to play it again. This time an acoustic version with just Matt and guitarist Chris on stage under spotlight to perform the stripped back version of the song.
Powering through a mix of old and new songs the quartet’s riff heavy rock was very well received by the crowd and at times felt like more of a festival headline set than a Sunday night gig. Crowd surfing, sing-alongs and people holding their phones up in the air for the slower songs all added to the atmosphere. The band really seemed in their element tonight, their 70s inspired stomping guitar riffs were perfectly suited to the large venue and only helped to increase the confidence of the young band.
After powering through more heavy rock hits from the ‘Future Dust’ album there was a brief moment of quiet introspection in the form of ballad ‘Palace’, which saw frontman Matt alone on-stage playing piano. The slower pace provided a well needed chance for some respite following from the previous hour’s heavy alt rock. However, almost as soon as Matt’s hands had left the piano he was joined on stage by the rest of the band who launched into first album hit ‘In my Mind’. This seemed especially heavy following on from ‘Palace’ and led to all of the downstairs floor of 02 academy moshing in unison for the entirety of the song. A feat all the more impressive owing to the extended edition played tonight. Complete with drum, bass and guitar solos stretching out the ending of the song by several minutes, which in all honesty started to feel a little self-indulgent in parts.
After recounting an interesting story of how the band got signed to their record label in Bristol after playing a gig with only a Michael Jackson impersonator present Matt then abandoned his guitar and jumped into the crowd for ‘Doubt it’. This was followed by a brief break before the band returned to play arguably their two most popular songs to close the show – ‘Junk food forever’ and ‘Black Magic’. Matt the ever-considerate frontman preceded to address and thank all different areas of the crowd including all the sections of the balcony (although this could be due to his parents being present as he revealed earlier in the gig).
Ending on a demonic scream of “We are the Amazons” before being plunged into darkness, it is clear that the band draw heavily from traditional big rock acts of the past. With hints of Royal Blood style choruses throughout, The Amazons might not be receiving many awards for originality anytime soon, but they put on a truly captivating show and certainly have some great songs. Ultimately, they might have just re-invented the wheel, but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
Featured Image Luke Piper/Epigram
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