THE AMAZONS have had a VERY successful 2017 thus far, their first headline tour of the year was entirely sold-out and their festival schedule extended from Glastonbury, Reading & Leeds Festival, and BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Hull aided in putting them firmly on the map of UK guitar led acts. They have also toured all across the rest of Europe as well as Japan and South Korea and with a couple of USA dates penciled in for later this year, they really are proving a dominant force.
We were invited along to The Phoenix in Exeter where they were to perform to a sell out crowd, the entire tour sold out a while back and their February 2018 dates are starting to do the same. Read on to see how the evening unfolded.
Newcastle rock trio THE PALE WHITE led the charge, providing the capacity crowd with a collection of great tracks which showcased their ability to produce tight, melodic guitar lines backed by a super tight bass and drum ensemble. The drummer was a flurry of arms and hair but managed to keep it all together whilst the guitarist/vocalist produced some ear bending passages along with tremendous angular riffs. I could hear hints of QOTSA sneaking into their songs which is never a bad thing. I hope that these guys felt as much at home as they possibly could being so far away from it!
As the lights dipped, the sounds of AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" rang out across the auditorium, welcoming THE AMAZONS to the stage. You know you're in for a great show when a band starts to play and from the get go, the crowd reacts in such a way, you think that they're a classic act, playing a 'Greatest Hits' set, drawing on a career's worth of material, in tonight's case, you're looking at a band that, despite being around for a few years now, are only playing material from their debut album which landed earlier this year!
"Ultraviolet", "Burn My Eyes" and the crowd pleasing, stadium sized "Stay With Me" got the audience fired up and it wasn't long before the crowd surfers made an appearance, causing the security team to jump up and earn their money. Every song they played sounded like an anthem, lift the show and drop it in a stadium with an extra 50,000 people and the band wouldn't have batted an eyelid, this is a band that have already proven that they can cut it just as well on the main stage at Reading & Leeds Festival as well as more intimate venues such as The Phoenix in Exeter.
"Holy Roller" and "Black Magic" went down really well, but it was the extended version of "Little Something" which saw the band really come into their own, guitar solos, dramatic lighting and an overwhelming sense of excitement provided a real "I was there" moment that I hope the lucky fans will look back on and savour for many years to come!
They ended the set with "Something in the Water" and left the stage to huge applause, the guitar tech jumped on stage and, along with a couple of colleagues, positioned a keyboard on the lip of the stage, we all knew there was more to come.
Matt Thomson strolled back on stage and took up residence at the keyboard and launched into the beautiful piano led ballad "Palace" before being joined by guitarist Chris Alderton to provide some atmospheric flourishes to this track that really bought things down a peg or two, proving that they are capable of much more than just crowd pleasing anthemic songs.
Joe Emmett and Elliot Briggs joined the party once again and Matt announced the final offering from the set list which was the ultimate sing-a-long "Junk Food Forever" which had the crowd singing and dancing like they were in their bedrooms with nobody watching!
As the lights fell, the band left the stage and the PA boomed out Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" as the audience started to shuffle out of the auditorium to spend their hard earned cash at the merch table and talk about the best show that they have been to in a LONG time.
I was chatting to Joe Emmett's parents before the show and I commented that this would be the last time that the band would play The Phoenix in Exeter, Jane Emmett asked why I had said that and I explained that the band are already too big to be playing intimate venues and the next time that they do venture down this way, they'll be performing to a sell out crowd at the University's Great Hall!
All in all, a barnstorming performance from one of the UK's finest and exciting bands, if you want to witness these guys in action, the remainder of this leg of their UK tour sold out a long time ago, they are playing a handful of dates (Birmingham, Glasgow, Manchester, Cambridge, Portsmouth and Reading) in February 2018, if you are looking to attend, I STRONGLY suggest you get tickets sorted now as the Reading date has already sold out and believe me, as the word gets around, the others will soon follow.