Sunday 8 October 2017

Live Review: Amber Run, The Tramshed Cardiff 06/10/2017

A lot has happened since I last saw Amber Run back in 2015. Most notably the release of their second album that's been received to much acclaim. Their debut served as an emotive powerhouse, rich in atmospherics, and it's these ideas that have been incorporated in to their new sound as the band take a step forward with their maturing dynamics. It's safe to say this evening was going to be an electrifying display of their skills and talent, ramped up to the highest degree.

Taking to the stage in prompt fashion, frontman Joe Keogh wasted no time in egging on the crowd as he strolled toward the mic, the eager expression of "come on then" written on his face as he raised his hands to much applause. With two albums in tow, the band no longer have to hold back, and it was clear from the offset they had no intentions of doing so as they opened with the jubilant Pilot before throwing us head-first in to Spark. Two tracks that could have so easily been reserved for an encore back then, now sit at the forefront of their set-list.

Warmed up and in good spirits the band unveiled the first material from album 2 with Insomniac and Stranger, both giving them a perfect opportunity to showcase their more expansive side with elongated melodies and soaring vocalism. This wasn't solely reserved to tracks on their new record though. Just My Soul Responding is an excellent example of their impeccable capabilities and it was sounding on form tonight as the track's thundering percussion echoed around the room. "We last played here at the club I can't pronounce" exclaimed Keogh. "Clubivaback" referring to Cardiff's much esteemed venue Clwb Ifor Bach. Top marks for trying at least. This in itself goes to show the distance they've come as they have no trouble at all in drawing in a much larger audience. They even seemed more relaxed here than they've ever been. With apprehension and excitement two key elements playing their part last time I was lucky enough to see them, they're now in a much more comfortable position and this showed in the smiles on their faces, ones that didn't leave for the entirety of the night.

As they continually switched between adrenalin fuelled rock and intricate, acoustically led pieces the set drew to a close with the vibrant Heaven. That wasn't before the band walked back out on stage as Keogh took to the mic once more to address the crowd. "We done what all arrogant indie-bands do. We said that would be our last song, then we played one more. Now we're back to play another 3". Here the crowd was treated to the auto-tuned Haze, featuring a three part harmony with guitarist Will Jones and bassist Tom Sperring joining forces as the crowd clung on to each and every word. Renown for their emotionally fraught narratives it was no surprise to hear I Found come to life in painstaking detail, Joe's vocals devastating the room as they soared high above the rattling instrumentation.

All good things must come to an end, and leaving No Answers until last was an all out indicator for where they're currently at. This is a band that know their direction and have the focus to achieve all they desire. The track's high energy and ferocious guitar lines attacked the crowd in angsty fashion and served as the perfect climax of the night's set-list.

Amber Run continue their UK tour at the following dates:

Saturday 7th October – Oxford O2 Academy
Sunday 8th October – Liverpool Hangar 34
Tuesday 10th October – Wolverhampton Slade Rooms
Thursday 12th October – Edinburgh Liquid Room
Friday 13th October – Belfast Mandela Hall
Saturday 14th October – Dublin Whelans – SOLD OUT


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