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Live review: The Amazons and Lisbon at The Joiners, Southampton (26/01/16)


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A cold, wet and windy Tuesday night in Southampton. Rain-drenched students and locals alike trickle - somewhat literally - into The Joiners, eager for one band’s set in particular.

"What time are The Amazons on?" asks one of tonight’s gig-goers, immediately upon entering the venue. "I’m just here for them."

"This fucking weather," says another.

"It’s literally broken my umbrella. The Amazons had better be worth it."

Fortunately for this rather sodden individual, The Amazons are, quite certainly, worth much more than his broken umbrella.

All else is entirely forgotten when the Reading quartet take to the stage and unleash an impenetrable wall of sound that thunders across the room, captivating and powerful.

As more and more people begin to filter into The Joiners, The Amazons keep the intensity high while still remaining accessible. Gritty, grunge-infused guitars and relentless drumming pulse keenly beneath yearning vocals and glittering pop hooks.

These are songs that are meant to be played live. Single ‘Junk Food Forever’ soars across the room, a brilliantly unique and eccentric indie belter that makes you want to sing terribly and chuck your drink everywhere without knowing or caring why.

‘Ultraviolet’ is this irresistible, frustrated anthem that’s just full of everything, and tonight, you can’t help but feel it. The Amazons believe in their music, and it shows.

Throughout their set, the band shift with ease from moments of abrasive, thrashing heaviness to blissful melodics, creating space in their songs for moments of pause and minimalism.

And these carefully engineered dynamics are perhaps one of the major things that set The Amazons apart from their contemporaries.

That, and their undeniable charm and stage presence. While the Reading lads have a cool, confident demeanour about them, there is never a lack of passion, heartfelt determination or honesty.

‘We’ve been The Amazons,’ says front-man Matt Thomson rather shyly, before he and his band rocket into a blistering rendition of ‘Something In The Water’. "I always forget to say that; it’s kind of important."

And important it is, but necessary it isn’t. Nobody here is going to forget The Amazons in a hurry.

Unfortunately for headliners Lisbon, The Amazons have rather stolen the show. Still, the Newcastle quartet are quick off the mark, getting the audience dancing along to their glimmering indie sounds easily.

Battling a tickly cough with that well-known remedy of Jack Daniel’s Honey Whiskey, there’s a few occasions where vocalist Matthew Varty strains for the high notes, but cough aside, the front-man certainly knows how to work the crowd.

‘Native’ grooves effortlessly with neat riffs, while the eclectic ‘I Don’t Know’ sizzles infectiously - a vibrant indie number that’ll be stuck in your head for days.

New single ‘Vice’ sees smooth vocals simmer over skittering, melodic 80s-esque guitars and a funk-beat. A rich, kaleidoscopic track that’s an instant hit with the crowd.

With an electric, colourful and polished set, Lisbon are certainly a band to add to your gig list this year.

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