I’m not going to lie I hadn’t heard too much of Amber Run before I was invited along to their gig at EVAC by their support band for the night Stillia. I can tell you now though – after what I witnessed at the gig, I won’t be forgetting the name Amber Run again in a hurry.
The first notable set of the evening came from main support, Stillia. A four-piece alt-rock band from St Helens who were playing the gig in support of their recently released single ‘Lights Shine’. Still in a phase of progression (and the lads will be the first to admit that), they’re growing with every gig they play, getting tighter and writing new material. Their live performance is youthfully raw, honest and energetic. Amber Run’s lead singer Joe praised the band’s “tight setup” following their set and went on to further praise Stillia as Amber Run’s set came to a close later in the night: “Thanks a lot to our support bands tonight, some fantastic talent on show, Liverpool’s still got it eh.” Stillia are clearly showing natural progression and look a tight knit group, which are two of the main compliments for a band at this stage of their career, and if you offered them the chance to be in Amber Run’s position this time next year – headlining and laying foundations for a debut record – then I’m sure they’d bite your hand off (not literally I’m sure, they’re nice lads after all.)
Amber Run take to the stage in low-key fashion, no fancy walk-on or voice overs and it soon becomes clear why. They do their talking on the stage, they don’t claim to be anything fancy or anything to out of the ordinary, but you’d be hard pressed to find someone exactly like them. As they kick off with a track I’ve heard before – the gentle, mellow number ‘I Found’ – a respectful silence spreads across the loft. Breath-takingly good vocals from Joe Keogh capture the attention of everyone in the room from start to finish, and everyone stands in sheer awe of the magic that’s happening in front of them on-stage. The band then whistle through a few lesser known tracks whilst the audience recovers from the quality of their opener.
Mid-way through the set Joe admits that he’s not a talkative sort of frontman at live shows but that he used to try and tell jokes, smile and be funny: “I still look ahead to gigs and go ‘I bet they’d fucking love a knock-knock joke tonight'”. This is promptly greeted with shouts from the crowd – “go ed, give us one then!” (in true Liverpool fashion).
Amber Run go on to reel through a lively and tight set, playing songs from their three previous EP releases , such as ‘Spark’ and ‘Little Ghost’, before once again interacting with the crowd to ‘ask permisson’ to play a new song or two. Joe plugs the new record – “So we’ve got a record out next year (to loud cheers) and I think you’ll agree it’s been fucking long enough already, I’d like to play you my favourite track off the album if that’s alright?” – and they play a couple of new songs, including ‘See You Soon’, which seems very apt given the fact they should be returning in the new year. Joe describes it as a “Belter” and I’m inclined to agree with him. Humming, melodic guitar riffs supported by twangy bass and popping drums lead into a strong sweaty finish. I’d be surprised if this track isn’t chosen to lead their debut album to glory in 2015: it’s of single quality that’s for sure.
You’d be hard pressed to find five more humble lads than Amber Run, they deserve all the praise they receive and more on top. There’s a top live band here just itching for a tad more exposure to make the next step. If you get the chance, I’d urge you to check them out live and keep your eyes/ears peeled for their debut album in the new year.
Download the Amber Run Pilot EP now: http://smarturl.it/PilotEP