LIVE: Amber Run – The Deaf Institute, Manchester 01.02.15


Guarded from the bitter Northern winds by walls laden with dog eared posters and that notoriously quirky wallpaper, one of the most mixed aged crowds I have ever been a part of began to assemble on the Deaf Institute floor, awaiting Amber Run. The five friends who met at university in Nottingham have been on some sort of musical whirlwind ever since forming the band almost three years ago, with plays on Radio 1, XFM, Reading and Leeds Festival and a slot supporting Lewis Watson on tour, already under to their name.

It’s a rare spectacle when any alcohol selling venue up North falls calm, yet anticipating Amber Run’s opening track there was an eerie silence in the upstairs bar, allowing Joe Keogh’s haunting vocals to pierce through beautifully. ‘I Found’ was a complete goose-bump generator, sounding just as astonishingly polished as the recorded version and leaving us all slightly taken aback by the intimacy of such resonant vocals in a small, tranquil room.

After playing the anthemic ‘Just My Soul Responding’, the band introduced us in to some new material, including ‘5am’, that took it’s inspiration from a London Grammar record and their electronic influence. The track was certainly a step in the right direction for Amber Run whose songs at times can feel samey and slightly indistinguishable from one another, which is perfect for a sleep playlist but not so much a gig.

That being said, Joe continuously engaged the crowd with his humble chit chat and southern charm, asking us Northerners if we had we brought along our “daaarncing shoes”. After a quick Google translate of darncing to dancin’, the sound of many stiff legs and backs being cracked filled the room, along with whirling guitar intro of ‘Hurricane’. ‘Hurricane’ is a clap along anthem if ever there was one, and simply made to be played in a festival field at sunset (straw hat and pint of beer optional).

Amber Run are a band whose feet are well and truly on the ground, with their love for their crowd being almost as big as the crowd’s for them. Amidst the cries of “I love you!”, Joe manages to declare that he “doesn’t give a shit” about the whole bright lights of the music bizz and simply wants to play music to us guys on a Sunday night. It’s almost enough to melt the cold bitch whose neck is aching from carrying a dslr’s heart… almost.

The band seem to have cracked a formula with their fan base, where the more defined a beat is to clap along to, the higher a place it holds in fan’s hearts. A catchy chorus also helps, as demonstrated by the a mass of bobbing heads and chanting voices to new hit ‘Spark’.

The band closed with their infamous track, ‘Noah’, shining as a credit to their current progression both production wise and lyrically. The triumphant chorus of guitar riffs may be similar to that of a Mumford and Sons track, but no band can compare to Amber Run on the passion front, with every chord and sustained note containing 100% of all five guys.