Amber Run at Exeter Phoenix, 13/01/2017


I love live music. The energy and anticipation when waiting to see the song that you were listening to in your bedroom actually performed live contribute to your sense of excitement. You share this experience with those around you, all connected by your appreciation of the music. Amber Run’s gig at the Phoenix lived up to these expectations.

The band are touring the UK for their new album For A Moment, I Was Lost. This album title echoed throughout the gig as the band told the audience about how they almost weren’t there that day. The production of the album was turbulent and there were moments of feeling lost; set backs and self-doubt meant the album was almost never made. Luckily for their fans the group persevered and are back with substantial force.

You could tell the band appreciated the support the crowd were giving them after their long journey to get there, and they even revealed that their first ever encore was at a previous gig in Exeter. The new album is poetic with hypnotic beats and melodies which were great live. They also reminded the audience of why they became fans in the first place by harking back to some old classics, including the catchy Noah and mood-lifting Spark.

The lead singer Joe Keogh had pitch-perfect vocals, while possessing an addictive energy throughout the performance. He jumped and danced around, taken in by the melodies and committing himself to the music. This magnetism made you want to be on stage, dancing with him. You can tell that making music is all he, and the rest of the group, wants to do. The band combine deep emotion with electronic beats, providing a mixture of wanting to stay still and take it all in, while also feeling the urge to move, to sway, to run. The best songs to see live were 5am and Fickle Game. The meaningful lyrics and sober yet moving tone flowed out into the auditorium – you found yourself holding your breath.

There was trepidation from the band to perform Haze. Keogh said they have concerns about what it would do to the mood of the gig, bringing the energy down, but this is far from what happened. The song details suffering from depression, with lyrics that express feelings of longing, fear and pain, the desire to break away from the blue haze. It was stunning and brought the gig to a still moment; the band had everyone’s full attention. This was made even more poignant by the intimacy of the venue. Feelings of uncertainty and anxiety are often explored in their music, but throughout the night a trust between the band and the crowd had been built. This support for one another provides a safe environment to be in for those on and off the stage, and is likely what encouraged Keogh to say “I feel we are on a level with each other”.

It was a captivating gig to remember and hopefully Amber Run were encouraged by the warm and devoted response from the Exeter audience. I am excited at the prospect of seeing them back in the city soon.

– Connie Adams

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