The Amazons at The Pyramids, Portsmouth
The Amazons, Portsmouth Pyramids / Friday 9th February 2018 / Support from Valeras and Yonaka
Reading-born indie rock guitar band The Amazons embarked on their tour of the UK starting in Birmingham and finishing on home turf, Reading, where they played in a sold-out 3000 capacity venue making it their biggest gig to date. After the release of their self-titled debut album in 2017 and relentlessly touring the world for the last four years, this was the band’s second UK tour since the release. Nearly every night of the tour was sold out, and the penultimate night at the Portsmouth Pyramids was no exception.
The night kicked off with a storming performance from fellow Reading-based band, Valeras. The five-piece female-fronted band are eagerly following in the footsteps of other Reading royalty including The Amazons and Sundara Karma. They have been constantly touring the country as support for Fickle Friends, The Wombats and The Night Café and are a band to keep an eye and an ear out for. Following the electric performance of Valeras, Brighton-based Yonaka took to the stage engaging the crowd with vocals and performance similar to a style recognisable of The Kills and Wolf Alice. These female-fronted bands are bringing a new sound to alternative rock music, a scene that is so heavily lead by all-male bands in the 21st century. With every tune played, lead singer Theresa brought electricity and passion similar to that of Matt’s energy in the Amazons. With well-loved single ‘Ignorance’ getting the entire crowd moving their feet and screaming that ‘Ignorance is not blessed to me’ back at them, it was clear to say, everybody who didn’t know Yonaka prior to the night, went home and added them to their Spotify playlist.
With the anticipation levels running high, the crowd were ready for The Amazons to grace the stage with their exhilarating presence and scorching tunes. As Thompson walked on stage with guitar held high, the night kicked off the same way the debut album did with ‘Stay With Me’. Like tour dates before, the middle hook was already being screamed at the band before they had even begun to sing the notes themselves. The stage was lit up with orange similar to the colours of the artwork of the debut album. When the track ended the stage lighting transitioned from fiery orange to the deepest colours of purple and the crowd knew exactly what was to come. Crowd-pleaser ‘Ultraviolet’ rippled across the room with everyone jumping up and down. The crowd and The Amazons alike were feeling every emotion and every shudder of the bass. Following the electricity of the opening two songs, Matt Thompson proved his worth as a vocalist with the high range on album track ‘Burn My Eyes’, which alongside his true showmanship, showed endless possibilities for any new tracks to come from the band. Thompson in between tracks touched upon how the music industry is constantly losing small gig venues throughout the UK and that we need to keep going to small intimate gigs and supporting upcoming bands so that we can keep the music industry alive. He was thrilled that the band were playing back in Portsmouth again.
The band didn’t disappoint the dedicated Amazons fans in the crowd by chucking in old EP track ‘Nightdriving’ which saw smiles across every member of the crowd and the lyrics screamed so passionately at the band. It brought a sense of nostalgia to its dedicated fans, including the band’s friends from Reading who pushed the crowd out to start yet another mosh pit. The moshing continued into the next track ‘Little Something’, with the build-up to the chorus pushing the crowd back further and further and then a swift surge into the mosh as the drum rolls began. As a contrast to the energy in ‘Little Something’, Theresa from Yonaka joined Thompson on the stage for a broken down start to ‘In My Mind’. Her beautiful vocals relayed off the raw husk of Thompson’s to create something simply outstanding. It enticed the audience as to where they would take the track and, if anything, it just made it even more electrifying. The track should definitely feature as a B-Side to the original as it only left everyone wanting more collaborations from them both.
With the stunning opening riffs for ‘Black Magic’ sending the crowd into a frenzy once more only to be tantalised by a swift change into veteran track ‘Millions (The Party)’ from the days of the 2015 ‘Ultraviolet’ single. It was almost as if the two tracks belonged together with such a transition between them. After giving the crowd yet another taste of nostalgia, the track swung full circle back to the energetic riffs of ‘Black Magic’ to close the two songs and end the set so far.
In true Amazons style, Matt Thompson made his appearance back on stage alone for the encore. With a piano being wielded on stage behind him, the crowd knew exactly how the night was going to end. He expressed a sincere thank you to the crowd for joining them on this leg of the tour and with the appearance of the distinguishing orange lighting beaming across the stage, it could only be time for the closing track from the album ‘Palace’. Reflecting on the intimately gorgeous cinematography created for the video by GattMoff, the performance almost embodied said video. The audience was stunned and almost silenced for the first time of the night as Thompson’s beautiful vocals lit up the room. There were arms waving in time, and many on shoulders crying out the lyrics with smiles upon their faces. A simply beautiful rendition of a passionate song that, likewise to the album, added texture to the night and seemed like a farewell from the band themselves. But obviously, the band couldn’t leave the stage without throwing out its speciality. From the UK to Asia, the stifling middle loop of fan-favourite ‘Junk Food Forever’ – as always – surged across the room. Everyone was on their feet and with every lyric, it was belted straight back to them. At multiple points throughout the tune, Thompson let the audience sing the song themselves and as the song ended, there was nothing but smiles across the audience’s faces. An electrifying end to an outstanding, stellar performance from the Reading boys that left the entire audience still singing those ending riffs as they left the venue to continue their night.
It was outstanding to see such passion and raw energy from a band that is relatively new to the industry, especially at a time where indie rock has become so competitive and difficult to stand out in. The Amazons confidence almost made it seem as if they were old-timers at the game, and kept spirits of both kinds alive throughout the entire performance. It was great to see collaborations with Yonaka in the mix to show the bands love and support for their warm-up artists. After the night at Portsmouth, it brings a sense of urgency for The Amazons fans because all we want now is more. With the band returning to the studio after taking the album on tour twice what is next to come for The Amazons is nothing but exciting and we’re all eager to see what direction the band takes us. With appearances at UK festivals Community, and Standon Calling on the cards this summer, their performances are ones you do not want to be missing.
THE GIG IN REVIEW:
- An electrifying atmosphere with high energy crowd singalongs.
- Incredible support acts with similar styles to the band.
- Good mix of debut album tracks and original EP tracks.
inSYNC Rating – 8.5/10.0