Throughout the evening there is a clear bond between Amber Run and the crowd they’ve attracted to the Manchester 02 Ritz for their first UK show in two years.
Frontman Joe Keogh regularly pauses to express his admiration, or his feelings, to the rapt crowd, following through on the band’s aim to see the fans as friends.
Supporting act Stereo Honey came first and singer Pete Restrick wasted no time with introductions before jumping into their first song, his falsetto crooning somehow a perfect mix with the guitar and drums backing him.
Like Amber Run the band fits somewhere within the niche of indie pop and rock and their lyrics are similarly drenched in meaning. They introduced themselves after their opening song and by the third song, new release You Are A Monster, they had the crowd’s attention, helped by Restrick’s interaction with the audience, calling out to ‘Manchester’, gaining new fans in many of us who formerly knew nothing about them.
Later coming to the stage, Amber Run was welcomed with cheers from the crowd of fans. They opened with their 2019 single Neon Circus, a fast-paced song called a “call to arms” by Keogh, the song coming out roaring to amp up the vibe in the audience.
They followed with a classic song from their debut album ‘5AM’ – Just My Soul Responding – leading to a phenomenal experience as the crowd sang along with Keogh.
Keogh was visibly excited, the shaggy-haired singer moving around the stage and calling out to the audience that they’d “missed this”.
He would later express that the band had been worried that nobody cared about them by the time their new album ‘Philophobia’ had been released, a thought clearly proven wrong by the excited audience response to them.
The band continued with Insomniac and Stranger from their second album ‘For A Moment, I Was Lost’, an album largely seen as them maturing from their debut and largely personal to the band.
This intimate connection between the band and their fans shown in the songs from the album, regularly called their “friends” by Keogh throughout the show, was clear as they shifted into their more somber hits such as Fickle Game and later Amen.
Keogh prefaced Amen with the information that his grandfather had died a year ago, waving to his mother and grandmother who were both at the show. For all the sadness of the songs, the crowd moved and sang along with them, an almost ethereal experience to be a part of.
Returning to more upbeat songs, the band played hits such as Carousel, Noah and finished with Spark before leaving us wanting more. To cheers of an encore, they returned, promising three more songs including the iconic I Found and finishing with the upbeat, roaring No Answers which had the room stamping their feet and swinging their heads along with Keogh, whose electric presence on the stage matched that of the audience.
The sweaty, feverish end to the gig was upbeat and left fans wanting more, but the end had come and fans left the venue having gained unforgettable memories of the night.