Amber Run's music is experienced at its best in an intimate venue.
Although this was my 3rd time witnessing Amber Run perform, their performance at The Old Fire Station earlier this month completely blew me away with the incredible musicianship and their humble presences on stage, and is very much deserving of this 5-star rating.
The band opened with ‘Leader Countdown’, a very suitable fit as it’s the first track of their newest album, Philophobia and, lacking vocals and being only 40 seconds long, is the perfect entrance to rally up the crowd. The gorgeous piano riffs then perfectly transitioned into ‘Neon Circus’, one of Amber Run’s heaviest tracks, which is somehow even better live as you witness the energy on stage and the many heads bobbing amongst the crowd.
The Old Fire Station was the perfect venue for them to play in, as it provides the audience with an intimacy with the band but it’s also not so cramped that you can’t move. This was their second time playing the venue, and it’s definitely clear how their fanbase has grown over the past few years.
The setlist over the night was fairly varied, playing some old fan favourites alongside some of the newer tunes off of Philophobia. Although the crowd seemed to enjoy every song they performed, it was clear that ‘Noah’ was certainly a favourite amongst everyone as it received much excitement with almost everyone screaming “NO-AHHH” along with the band. Also, of course ‘5AM’ got a very happy reaction from the crowd, with everyone clearly singing and swaying to the gorgeous vocals. However, the emotive energy of this song was somewhat ruined with the numerous phones which were raised in the air for its entirety.
Despite the amazing tunes that they did perform, I was somewhat disappointed at the lack of ‘Good Morning’, as that’s always been my favourite of theirs live. I assume the removal of this was due to the fact that they now have 3 whole albums, meaning it’s incredibly hard to include everyone’s favourite into an hour and a half set.
The most memorable moment of the night was definitely ‘Amen’, as lead singer Joe laid out the emotional context of the song, that ‘Amen’ consists of words he wished he had said at his Grandfather’s funeral. This was met with utmost respect from the crowd, and the entire duration of this song I could not hear one noise from the audience or one phone in the air; it was certainly proof of how emotive Amber Run’s songs can be, and how respectful the majority of their fanbase are.
Along with providing the audience with incredible tunes, varying from quieter, emotive songs to some absolute bangers, Joe also provided us with the perfect level of interaction between songs. I particularly liked his comment that “we’re all friends here”, and then his humorous response to someone in the crowd screaming “JOSHUA!” being “we’re not friends”. The respect I have for a band is certainly heightened due to their levels of crowd interaction and banter at a show.
The only disappointing aspect of Amber Run’s gig at The Old Fire Station for me was the somewhat unexcitable crowd. Compared to the other shows I have seen them perform, the crowd lacked the excitement for some of their newer, heavier stuff – perhaps this is due to their music progressing to a slightly heavier tone recently which some older fans may not have been prepared for. This lack of excitement was particularly demonstrated in their closing song, ‘No Answers’, which in my opinion requires full energy with lots of jumping and moshing to fully enjoy its intensity. There was hardly any jumping, and it seemed like my friends and I were the only ones moving (which was fairly awkward, and quite sad).
Despite the somewhat less-than-excitable crowd, Amber Run still managed to put on a top performance as usual, and certainly deserve 5 stars.
Keep in the loop with Amber Run’s tour here, and be sure to check out the music video for ‘What Could Be As Lonely As Love?’, off of their new album, below.