Exeter, Devon UK • Feb 22, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Music Live Review: The Amazons at Exeter Phoenix

Live Review: The Amazons at Exeter Phoenix

Jake Avery, Music Editor, appraises the Reading indie-rock darlings' triumphant Exeter gig.
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Image: Jake Avery

One year on from the band’s brilliant third album, ‘How Will I Know if Heaven Will Find Me?’, The Amazons returned to the Phoenix for a night of British rock excellence. Frontman Matt Thompson wasted no time stirring up the crowd into the hits, as the Reading rockers burst into melody with opening track ‘Ready For Something’. There was an immediate sense of eagerness and passion that the indie rockers wear on their sleeves as they begin on stage.

The atmosphere, having been summoned initially by brilliant Scottish alternative rock trio Swim School, was raised another notch by the time Thompson swung into the buzz of ‘Stay With Me’, a track from The Amazons’ 2017 self-titled debut that simply demands its chorus to be chanted as loudly as possible. The crowd certainly took heed to this; every lyric from Thompson was matched with euphoria. Lean vocals were supported by a smoky, distortion-rich guitar riff leading the way throughout ‘In My Mind’, furnishing the performance with a grittier side to the anthems that shine with honest, heartfelt lyrics. ‘Northern Star’ pivoted into sweetness, cushioning the set with a rewarding ballad to those in love. Matt Thompson was more than comfortable on stage, donning a slick pair of sunglasses and a classy jacket fit for a red carpet.

The stage wasn’t just occupied by The Amazons; it was owned by them. This ownership was instantaneous, and this exceptional grasp over showmanship was held with great force. By the time that the opening notes (a passage matching the tone of Metallica’s ‘Fade to Black’) of ‘Georgia’ were projected, the band had achieved complete command over the crowd. The track marked the start of the ‘Future Dust’ album’s entrance into the set; the 2019 release leant heavily into blues and early country influences, doubling down on the intense natures of both genres. Embracing tracks from the album shifted the show to be even more eclectic in its nature. The buzz of the guitar throughout ‘Doubt It’ brought more angst to Thompson’s vocals, with the backing vocals from other members fashioning dramatic and theatrical verses that ramped up the atmosphere before unleashing a superb chorus hook. The fire and thrills expressed in through these tracks made for one of the highlights of the night – it was through this portion of the gig that The Amazons hit an extravagant stride.

This electricity didn’t cease here however, as later tracks from their debut album ‘Ultraviolet’ and ‘Junk Food Forever’ continued to create sparks, particularly with their choruses. Hearing Thompson’s fervent chants and Chris Alderton’s thunderous guitar riffs coalesce to produce sonics that incited movement like wildfire throughout the crowds was joyous. Keeping a stable but equally arresting hold over the pandemonium was bassist Elliot Briggs, who brought superbly impactful basslines to the forefront of the show, making them just as desirable to focus on as Thompson and Alderton’s musicianship. Throughout all tracks played, varying from the feisty bursts of their debut to last year’s more sedate release, The Amazons reminded the audience exactly why they’re so effective at crafting and delivering a performance that is as stylish as it is savage.

The Amazons reminded the audience exactly why they’re so effective at crafting and delivering a performance that is as stylish as it is savage.

Capping off a thrilling night of music, the band returned for their encore; ‘Mother’ and ‘Fuzzy Tree’ both graced the Phoenix. It was a slightly short encore, one that would have definitely benefitted from at least one more track to make it a fulfilling trio, but that criticism is testament only to how absorbing The Amazons had been throughout the performance. ‘Exeter, you’ve been a dream’ Thompson proclaimed before heading offstage. The Amazons charmed Exeter, and brought a beguiling show of indie-rock class to the crowds of the Phoenix.

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