Live Review: The Amazons @ Rock City

After paying their dues through the smaller Nottingham venues, the Amazons finally take on the Rock City stage in a blinding show.

Up first to the stage were hot new band The Mysterines, who, with only a handful of songs to their name, have been keeping themselves busy performing at festivals across the country and touring with the likes of Miles Kane last year. Clearly inspired by some classic rock and punk, the female led band packed a punch. Their set was filled with angst, rebellion and a feeling of old-school fight. A personal highlight was their closing number Take Control, a track which felt much more layered and polished than some of their other material. That’s not to say that this is necessarily a bad thing regarding the rest of their set, with their raw, feisty quality tethering them to the very core of rock music. The Mysterines will be playing The Bodega next February if you fancy yourself a night of some punchy, passionate, old-school rock.

Image courtesy of Phoebe Fox.

The second support act were three-piece alt rock band Demob Happy, who brought a heavier tone to the room. Consisting of hulking chords, dirty guitar solos and an image straight out of the 70’s rock scene, their set was captivating. Demob Happy had 3 front men up on stage rather than only one, with each member thriving and wallowing in their music. They managed to capture both the flamboyancy yet understated aura of classic 70's bands while still encapsulating the vitality and freshness of modern artists, with Queens of the Stone Age springing to mind instantly. Working seamlessly as a tight collective yet still maintaining a gritty quality, Demob Happy are for sure a band to watch out for as they slowly but surely climb their way up the rock music scene.

After what felt like a prolonged wait, with anticipation buzzing through the crowd, The Amazons finally took to the stage. Coming straight out of the gate with their latest album, Fuzzy Tree opened the show up, then followed by Mother, which featured an abundance of crashing drums, smashing guitars and a chanting crowd. Instantaneously, the band had the room wrapped round their finger, hanging off their every note, captivated by the performance on stage. The staging set up was simplistic yet effective; the outline to the opening of the cave featured on their latest Future Dust album, surrounding front-man Matt Thomson and framing drummer Joe Emmett directly behind. This was all The Amazons required to put on a blinding show – no need for distracting gimmicks.

Although regrettably being the first time experiencing The Amazons perform in a full live set up, they surpassed any expectations. Recently watching their album launch acoustic set at Rough Trade, I had merely an inkling to the level of energy which was going to be on stage, with Matt Thomson specifically being simply unable to sit still on a stool for more than one song. Having a stage to run around on is for sure the band’s natural environment. Flourishing in the bright lights, loud noise and joy of entertaining a crowd, The Amazons did not let one second on stage go to waste. Every single song was performed with fire and vitality.

'Instantaneously, the band had the room wrapped round their finger, hanging off their every note, captivated by the performance on stage'.

While it would be insulting to even suggest that drummer Joe Emmett and Elliot Briggs on bass faded into the background, it was the other half of The Amazons who really thrived in the spotlight; Matt Thompson and guitarist Chris Alderton soaked up every moment. The two had indisputable stage chemistry together, notably during Georgia, which saw the crowd watch in awe at their abilities to both entertain the room singlehandedly, but then come together, bouncing off each other.

The Amazons are certainly no strangers to the Nottingham music scene. Working their way up through Nottingham stages such as The Bodega, to Rescue Rooms, to finally hitting Rock City, you could genuinely feel how much making it up onto that stage meant for the band. Matt Thompson hailed Rock City as being an ‘incredible venue’ before launching into fan favourite Junk Food Forever as the opening song of the encore. It was during their rendition of perhaps their most favoured song that front man Matt Thompson, usually oozing confidence, truly came across as vulnerable, shocked and genuinely overwhelmed by the whole ordeal. Looking around the room, back at the hundreds of adoring fans screaming his lyrics back at him, for one brief second all he could bring himself to do was grin ear to ear and laugh at what a few boys from Reading have managed to achieve.

'The Amazons already have the stage presence and tunes set for stadiums, and with such a growing fanbase, you can’t help but feel like it won’t be long for the Reading boys'.

Closing the night on Black Magic, The Amazons left the people of Nottingham an awe-struck, out of breath, sweaty mess. The night flew by in a whirlwind of good old-fashioned live rock entertainment. It feels bitter-sweet reflecting back on the events of the evening, with no doubt that the band are going to continue to move on up to bigger and bigger things – there may be only a handful of opportunities left to experience the band in such an intimate setting. The Amazons already have the stage presence and tunes set for stadiums, and with such a growing fanbase, you can’t help but feel like it won’t be long for the Reading boys. But for now, Rock City was the perfect venue for the band; large enough to serve their set justice, while still maintaining an air of intimacy and comradeship between those on and off stage.