Wednesday 12 October 2022

The Amazons - Guildhall, Southampton - 11th October 2022

An evening of thrashy guitars - That's how I'll remember this gig

I heard an Amazons track somewhere and thought it sounded pretty good, so I looked them up and found they were playing the Southampton Guildhall, a venue I'd really enjoyed when I'd seen Editors there, and I rather rashly booked a ticket there and then.

As time passed, I listened to more of their stuff and started to feel that they maybe weren't quite my thing.

Still, the ticket was booked and I turned up in time to catch the support act.

The support act were a band, from the Isle Of Wight, fronted by two women, a Brunette taking the lead and a blonde in support - Oh, Wet Leg? No, sadly not. This was Coach Party.

The thrashy guitar feeling started with them.

Lousy sound for support acts is nothing new, but I couldn't distinguish a word the lead singer sang for a long time and the tunes were pretty much lost in the cacophony.

Maybe I'm being unfair, but I got the feeling someone saw a band that looked a bit like Wet Leg, from the Isle of Wight and snapped them up. Some of their videos look surprisingly like pastiches of Wet Leg's too!

The only song I could clearly hear was 'Everybody Hates Me', which sounds far better on YouTube than it did live!

To be fair to them, they were energetic and certainly warmed most of the audience up, but to me it just sounded like noise on the night.

The Amazons later said that the Guildhall was the first big venue they played, as a support act, and you hope they had the same limited sound check time as they'd obviously given Coach Party.

That said, I'm not sure the Amazons did much of one themselves.

For many of their songs, the vocals were muddy and indistinct, drowned out, once again, by thrashing guitars.

OK, that's their sound, but the guitars were far more dominant than on recordings and it did tend to make many of the songs hard to distinguish from each other, I only recognised a few, although from the singing along going on, the, mostly student, crowd obviously knew and recognised more than I did.

It did start pretty well, with one of the band coming on from stage left, starting the intro to "How Will I Know?", followed by "Ready For Something" and "Ultraviolet", but soon the tracks started to merge into each other with the vocals lost behind the wall of frantic guitars.

A brief acoustic interlude for "Nightdriving" and the quieter track "Northern Star" (where the audience were encouraged to wave their phone lights in the air...Really? In 2022?) were welcome breaks from the the thrashing, but normal service was resumed shortly after each.

This all reads rather negative and I certainly wouldn't rank it amongst my favourite gigs, but they were energetic and put on a good show, I guess they just didn't hit the spot for me.

Clearly a lot of the audience were really enjoying it, but I did notice that a lot of people were drifting away before the end of the set, so maybe I wasn't alone in feeling that it was a bit samey.

They finished the main set with 'Junk Food Forever' (probably their best known song) and were playing right up to the 11AM curfew, so I can't see how they would have squeezed in an encore, but I left as the strains of Junk Food finished to raptuous applause (Earlier gigs on the tour did feature an encore, so maybe they squeezed one in, a setlist posted later suggested they did).

I didn't head home disgruntled, though.

If you gamble on bands you've never seen, you're going to be pleasantly surprised sometimes and less so on others. I guess, realistically, The Amazons delivered what I feared, but not what I hoped.

Contrary to how the sound on recordings, they felt a bit 'Stadium Rock'/'Guns n Roses-lite' to me and I won't bother going to see them again, but I can accept that they just weren't a band that I really found as appealing as I thought I might and that's OK.

Or maybe the whole evening was just undermined by a poor sound man and an inability of the band to realise how bad the balance was!

I'm hoping that my next visit to the Guildhall, to see Belle and Sebastian, will suit me better as the venue is certainly one I like.


How Will I Know?
Ready for Something
In The Morning
There's a Light
In My Mind
One By One
Say It Again
Northern Star
Wait For Me
Doubt It
Nightdriving (Acoustic)
Stay With Me
Junk Food Forever
Black Magic

PS This review - - seems to have a rather mixed view of a gig on this tour, too.

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