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Live Review: Amber Run @ Bodega, Nottingham (17/12/15)

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★★★

“You’re pretty fucking polite for a homecoming gig!”, declared Amber Run’s rather drunk frontman, Joe Keogh a couple of tracks in.

So Bodega’s sold out crowd set out on a mission to prove him wrong.

Nottingham unleashes its inner crazy to the band's anthemic pop rock.

Playing at a sold out Bodega as the warm-up show ahead of two sold out nights at Nottingham’s Rescue Rooms, Amber Run well and truly bought the heat.

Stuffed together like sardines, fan’s hands rose above the crowds in clap-along rhythm.

‘Let the light in, let the light in…’ we chant united to the gorgeously melodic 'Spark'.

 

Kick-starting hearty, uplifting; 'Just My Soul Responding', the quintet step back as the crowd sing the chorus in its entirety without prompting.

Paying a crooning, tender tribute to the Midland’s city, 'See You Soon' is captivating, built on an instrumental soundscape that washes over the entire body.

Newer tracks 'Hurricane, Good Morning' and 'Pilot' bared soul with a cappella harmonies and wailing guitar solos.

Channelling his inner Jack Black, the floppy haired frontman swaggered around on stage rallying off raucous riffs. It was pop punk-esque 'Don’t Wanna Fight', packing a punch.

“Are you guys alright?” he asks. “Yeah we fucking are!” comes one kids response.

I’m pretty sure it is the same lad who later in the set got cheeky and ended up having to buy the band another beer.

Onstage the former Uni of Notts students have a gawky presence, bouncing from being a bit cocky to being genuinely humbled by the reaction from the adoring crowd.

Though they can’t resist messing with the crowd, cutting joyous 'Heaven' half way through, leaving the crowd to laugh at their own bellowing karaoke vocals.

Building momentum through each of their distinguishable intros, each holds an undeniable power. With closed eyes, we stepped into fan favourite, melancholic 5AM. Haunting vocals were poignant against the soft electronic instruments, the passion reflected a warm glow of nostalgia.

From jangling guitars, sugary hooks and soaring choruses to stunning falsetto, whispered confessions and cracked emotive vocals; Amber Run bounced from one to the other. As such is life.

No time is left for dwelling.

Teasing Christmas songs, we lunge into a sassy mashup of 'Last Christmas' and 'All I Want For Christmas Is You'. Picture five grown men doing their own Mean Girls routine, just with more diva attitude.

Whilst pinpoint track 'I Found' cast a twinkling sadness across the intimate venue. With a cautious yet curious essence, beauty flooded from the delicate arrangement and backing vocals.

Compared with those stripped from their debut top 40 album 5AM, released with RCA Victor earlier this year, vocals are rawer. Richer. Even more striking. As the band’s chemistry on stage just runs like a well-oiled machine.

Ending with a guitar driven, heavier rendition of 'Noah', the enthusiasm was unstoppable, almost explosive. Captured by the hook, there were foot stomps, claps and a whole load of repeating a certain biblical name.

 Now, these guys write songs for stadiums and fill spaces with their infectious energy, but these lads don’t need the Coldplay-y gimmicks. They just need a beer in their hand, and possibly something to treat whiplash.

 

Amber Run play two sold out shows at Nottingham Rescue Rooms this weekend.

5AM is out now.

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