It has not been an easy year for Indie Pop Rock band Amber Run. While the specifics of the difficulties have not been shared, the band has repeatedly stated that they didn’t know if they would be around to complete this most recent full length album aptly titled For A Moment, I Was Lost. Overcoming whatever obstacles where in front of them, the band conquered the album and brought it live. With one of the most raw and emotional gigs ever witnessed, Amber Run brought the juxtaposing darkness and light, misery and hope to a sold out crowd at the O2 Institute.
After opener Islands awakened and energised the room, Amber Run came to the stage with thunderous applause. It was clear that Birmingham was desperately waiting for the band to return, and they showed their devotion with high praise. “Spark,” a single from the 2015 album 5AM was the first song to thread through the speakers. With vibrating lights the upbeat tune brings forth a rush of youthful energy that filled the room with hope and sparkle. With glittery excitement the band transitioned into “Pilot.” The song continued this upbeat anthem like song. While Amber Run may pull in a more youthful crowd, their music as demonstrated in this song is complicated, full of depth and beauty that goes beyond the gimmicky side of youthful music.
Fan favourite “Stranger,” with its deep reverberating indie tones and strong instrumental break, brings the night down a bit. This tune is stripped of the candy coated pop influences of the opening songs; it is a demonstration of early Amber Run whose indie sensibilities come through in rock fashion. Addressing lost love the song drips with psychedelic rock that harkens back to early rock music that was about lost love and self-discovery. “Fickle Game” continues with this melodramatic slow tempo mood. The swaying guitar rifts drop the heart rates of the fans around me, and it feels like we should be in the back corner of a smoky pub rather than a venue.
The temperate mood breaks as the band eases into “Just My Soul.” The loud singing of fans around us energises the slower based ambient filled song. The song has a build for emotions and the vocal climax draws in audiences like moths to a flame. There is a very obvious connection between Amber Run and their fans, which is certainly displayed by this song. Unlike any other band I’ve seen, Amber Run seems to feed off of fans as much as fans feed off the band. The symbiotic relationship is so entrenched in the bands DNA that you can’t ignore it.
New songs stream through. The elongated vocals mixed with quick paced drum work and extended harmonies give the songs a distinctly contemplative rock feel. It’s a good transition to the evolution of sound that has come through Amber Run’s four years of creating. The sound is still familiar, but there are added layers of musicality to the songs that produce a wide range of emotional responses from each song. “Good Morning” disrupts the new songs. The familiar tune brings back the upbeat dance feel. As the couples bop hand in hand to the beat, the fever of anticipation and happiness begins to grow once again. The band certainly feels it as well, with each member dancing on stage. The dancehall vibes continue with cheerful “I Found,” “Perfect,” and “Noah.” Ending with songs “5AM,” “Wastelands,” and “Heaven” the band exits the stage with thunderous applause. The chant of “We want more” rings through the hall, and after a few short minutes Amber Run returns to play “Haze,” “I Found,” and new song “New Answers.”
In a cacophony of and light and sound the boys end a stunner of a show. The mixture of emotional peaks and bombastic dance moves leave the audience dumbfounded but thoroughly entertained. The show was not only musically fantastic, but seems to mark the beginning of the next chapter of Amber Run’s journey. As they closed they said that they where ending with a new song because they very much feel like it’s the start of something new. The trials and perils from the previous years have dissipated; they have released an album that was deemed impossible and sold out shows in places where they didn’t know if people knew their name. Their raw and vulnerable stage show not only made them incredibly likeable, but revealed artists who are striving to create music that is not only commercially successful but also incredibly meaningful. While it may have been a difficult road, Amber Run did just that. Delivering an unconquerable show Amber Run demonstrated their musical talent as well as their community sensibility that will withstand the test of time and create a household name out of the indie rock group.
Reviewer – Kylie McCormick
Photographer – Ian Dunn