by Susie Long, Second Year Classical Studies
Epigram's Susie Long enjoyed a night of blazing, emotive indie rock from Prima Queen and The Amazons.
Seeing The Amazons at the O2 Academy this week reminded me of what it truly meant to go to a great indie rock concert. The atmosphere of the crowd, the energy of the band - even the details of the lighting design - made for what can only be described as an electric gig.
The opening act, Prima Queen, was not one that I had come across before but instantly jumped up the list of my favourite bands. Combining catchy melodies with lyrical complexity that made me want to do some sort of auditory double take when I first heard them, the band set the stage perfectly. Their engagement with the audience was lovely too, chatting with us about memories of Bristol, pints of Guinness and singing Happy Birthday to their bassist so that it made it feel like you knew them - definitely the sorts of people I would go and have a pint with. In fact, as my friend and I agreed, we would have been happy just seeing them, let alone the headliners.
When The Amazons came onstage, the entire place came to life in a way that I have only ever experienced living in this city. As frontman Matt Thomson said himself: “It’s fucking Bristol, these people know how to have a good time on a Wednesday fucking night.” We were moshing within minutes, crowd surfing not long after. With a variety of songs from their newest album How Will I Know If Heaven Will Find Me?, as well as classics like “Ultraviolet” and “Junk Food Forever”, the band compiled an intricate and compelling setlist. You’d think that jumping from heavy, classic rock-influenced guitar solos to an acoustic song featuring a mandolin and a harmonica solo would feel disjointed, and yet for The Amazons it works perfectly. Their lyrics are just as diverse, covering everything from love, lust and heartbreak to profound existentialism.
The most poignant moment for me, by far, was their performance of “Northern Star”. Transitioning out of “Say It Again”, this amazing sense of calm filled the O2 Academy. Watching a starry sky appear in the lights behind the band, hearing the crowd singing at the tops of their voices along with the strum of an acoustic guitar, and seeing every single person raise their phone flashlight - it was nothing short of magic.
For a split second, everyone in that room was equal and, as Thomson said in better words than I ever could:
“It unites you. Wherever you are, wherever you come from, whatever gender you are, who you love. Singing unites it all.”
- Matt Thompson (The Amazons)
Needless to say, I thought that The Amazons were a brilliant band to see live. Their songs have been circulating in my brain ever since, and I’m definitely not complaining.
Listen to Prima Queen and The Amazons music here:
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