Review by Charlie Tennant with Photography by Rob Hadley

Nottingham’s indie rock trio Amber Run delivered an intimate, emotional set that captured the hearts of all fans, new and old.

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Opening the night was stadium-sized juggernaut, Stereo Honey. With luscious, wide range vocals almost reminiscent of Thom Yorke with a hint of Two Door Cinema Club’s Alex Trimble, this act wasted no time at all setting the scene for the indie-rock clan of Birmingham tonight. With catchy, swaying ambience blended with unusual synth-esque sonics played by guitar, this act delivered a characteristic set that will surely lay the foundations for their future success.

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Seemingly bigger than the stage they stand on, they storm onto stage with an eerie opening of piano keys from ‘Leader Countdown’ before heading straight into the roaring single, ‘Neon Circus’ from their newest album, Philophobia. With a slight improvisation towards the end of the song, it’s clear that Amber Run are keen to deliver a set that performs and moves.

Without wasting time, the band perform 2015 hit, ‘Just My Soul Responding’, where lead-man Joe Keogh hands the singing role over to his captive audience. And what a job they do, as Keogh looks very chuffed with himself and his band through the noticeable connection to their audience as the song draws to a comfortable conclusion. There is a sense of pride felt by all in the room tonight.

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Moving on through their catalogue of music, new single, Affection, is up next, as lead-man Joe invites his mate Pete Restrick to the stage from support act, Stereo Honey, to help sing this one. Showing the softer side of their latest tunes through lyrics and instrumentals that poke and prod at the audiences hearts, the duet harmonies emphasise the lyrical cry out for connection in love. As the song finishes, Keogh preaches that “the boys got some pipes ain’t he” as he kisses goodbye to Restrick.

The middle of tonight’s set sees us moving into “sad boy territory”, Keogh professes. “I hate playing this song… Because I f*cked it up so bad a few weeks ago. And everything I make a mistake it makes me feel further from the one I lost”, as the lead-man goes on to explain this next track is a “eulogy I wish I’d said at my Granddad’s funeral”. An emotive introduction to a song that would strike the hearts of many in the room tonight. A solo song by Keogh, ‘Amen’ from the band’s 2018 EP, The Assembly was the tearjerker played this evening that filled the room with sorrow and sadness.

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Continuing in said territory, the act move on to one of their well known slow-burners, 5AM, the title track from their debut album. Sadly this was the only performance tonight which I felt lacked the energy and drive that the band so clearly displayed prior to this piece. It could be down to the nature of the song, but I was expecting some more improvisation and leg work around this one. Despite not differing too much from the studio recording, the crowd still enjoyed it and it is a masterpiece to hear live.

Ploying the audience to “come with us,” we move back into energetic territory, with upbeat hit, ‘Carousel’, from their latest album, Philophobia.

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Closing the main set with ‘Wastelands’, Amber Run left the audience begging for more. Without much time wasted, the lads jump back to stage, promising three more songs including their hit track ‘I Found’, from the act’s 2014 EP, Pilot EP. Bringing the night to a comfortable close with the upbeat 2016 single, ‘No Answers’ which got the audience moving and swinging their heads along with the lead-man, whose final display of energy on the stage matched that of the audience.

I think what’s really special about the performance tonight is that, while the new album, Philiphobia, breaks away from the band’s original genre; tonight’s show gives listeners both songs that would be best for a night in with candles and blankets, while other songs make you want to scream from the rooftops. There’s a uniqueness that this band have bred, and I’m excited to see where they take it next.

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Setlist:
Neon Circus
Just My Soul Responding
Insomniac
Stranger
Fickle Game
Pilot
No One Gets Out Alive
Dark Bloom
Affection
Amen
5AM
Carousel
What Could Be As Lonely As Love
The Darkness Has A Voice
Noah
Spark
Wastelands

Encore:
Haze
I Found
No Answers

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