The Amazons + Push + Wildlife
The Duchess, York
Thu Apr 9
The first thing to mention about the Amazons at the Duchess was that they played to a far smaller crowd than their supports did, which is a first.
In fact, it took more than an hour post-doors before anything resembling a decent crowd turned up, with the numbers for the night topping out at about 35 people.
The first act were heavy garage-y duo Push, who regardless of my opinion on their music produced an admirably animated, full-blooded performance to a mildly bemused audience.
I believe they’re a band in its infancy, with a Royal Blood-style set-up of frontman with guitar backed by a drummer, and their songs for me were neither here nor there – their raw, screamed vocals (which, bizarrely, almost seemed to harmonise at certain points) overpowered the backing slightly to create a presumably deliberately messy noise.
Having said that, the manic, thrashy drum sound they created was great, and they both looked like they were having a cracking time of it onstage, though it’s not a great sign that the best bit of their whole set was when the lads decided to swap instruments for a few bars.
Second support Wildlife followed. I liked this lot.
They’re a four-piece indie-math-funk band from Leeds, with a surprisingly potent combination of cool minimalist riffage and an adorably nerdy look typified by frontman Mikey Donnelly.
His wonderful hand-flicking strut seemed equally inspired by a young Jarvis and a vexed kangaroo, twitching and springing over the stage in a brilliantly natural fashion, not just like nobody was watching but as if it were the obvious thing to do in front of a paying audience.
You can see these guys gaining a bit of a cult following at some point, with Donnelly’s bizarrely gripping on stage patter – “my nipple looks like it’s been painted on!” – working well with their admittedly simple but toe-tapping tunes.
Set highlights included the driving Time For A Diet Coke with typically kooky hook line, “doesn’t matter, you’re a Pepsi girl” as well as the bassy Megablood, an intense late-night shuffle.
After they departed along with half the crowd, on came the Amazons, a hairy Reading quartet completely different – and more straightforward – than their predecessors on the night.
They were a very, very tight band, and though their preview described them as a blend between the force of Nirvana and the tunes of Tame Impala, for my money they more closely resembled Foo Fighters with wall-of-sound, professionally polished riffs.
Doubtless their best song in a very short set – must have been six songs at most – was Something In The Water, which has gained them more than 12,000 Soundcloud plays and you can see why. It’s an entertaining, echo-saturated mini-epic which translated well into an energetic live performance.
The audience response was great as well, dancing breaking out for their closing tracks and a good number grabbing free CDs of theirs at the end, though I’m unsure if calling the disks F**k The Amazons is a particularly inspired decision.
A very mixed bag at the Duchess, then.
For me, Wildlife were the only ones I’d be really interested in seeing again, if only to see what the world would be like if the geek uprising ever transpires.