For us and we’re sure many of the amassed crowd gathered in the murky attic space of The Haunt, this was a show not to miss. Amplifier are an elusive and enigmatic presence on the music scene and Black Moth kicked the doors down in 2012 with the release of ‘The Killing Jar’.
Not bothering with the slow metamorphosis from chrysalis to lepidoptera the Leeds five piece started their set as they meant to go on. Pupating instantly with the putrescent, pulsating, pounding riffery from the guitars of Jim Swainston and Nico Carew and driven by the thunderous heartbeat provided by Dave Vachon and Dom McCready. Their almost shamanistic sound is delicately topped off with the banshee like wailing and siren-esque whispering of Harriet Bevan, seductively lacing their raw and sludgey sound with something ever so slightly more glamorous. They quickly put the boot to the butts of the groggy assembled crowd pulling out a set that crashed over the bewildered audience in booming waves. Black Moth do exactly what you’d expect, they sound like a female led Black Sabbath trading that gloomy Northern Sunday for the mesmerizing flutter of the wings of a moth. ‘Blackbirds Fall’ remains one of the finest and most triumphantly huge tracks to have been released in recent memory and for us was the cherry on top of a set that lit the candle in the heart of the assembled crowd ravenous for the riff.
Amplifier took to the stage without the pomp and circumstance too often employed by bands incapable of such levels of sonorous sorcery. Sal Belamir is one of those naturally charismatic frontmen confident enough to let the music do most of the talking, which is not surprising backed so competently by the cocksure riffs brought in no short supply by Steve Durose on guitar. They treated the gathered crowd of pilgrims and converts to a mecca of a set, debuting ‘Mystoria’ in all its majestic glory whilst drawing respectfully from their wealth of a discography. Whether the crowd were stunned in reverence or simply meditating in awe it was by no means the most rambunctious or energetic welcome as they beat out a set that would put lesser bands to shame, but the sweaty confines of The Haunt were certainly packed to the walls with an attentive and raptured audience. Who by the end of it were completely won over by this bands masterclass of a set, the energy bled into the crowd with each squealing lick and pounding beat.
We managed to park ourselves near the front of the stage for the majority of the set and it could be due to Yack!’s reviewer dizzy on tequila and beer skanking frantically that we thinned out the front portion of the crowd. But we apologise for nothing as we enjoyed ourselves immensely! If memory serves the set opened as ‘Mystoria’ does with the buzzing intro ‘Magic Carpet’ which led sneakily into the indomitably huge riff of ‘The Consultancy’ from their debut album, this also allowed drummer Matt Brobin to announce his presence, his drums as technically impressive as they are intimidating on this track in particular. After this things became a rollercoaster of headbanging, beer chugging, screaming lyric echo and pure unadulterated riff-gasms.
Set highlights included ‘Open Up’ which previously sat nicely as a more mellow point amongst the high octane blasting of ‘Mystoria’, live it became something else leaving it lodged in your brain meaning it was sung most of the way back to the hotel “girl if you’ll believe in meeeeee, if only for a minute”… ‘Black Rainbow’ and ‘Interstellar’ both towered over the middle portion of the set equally leaving their shadow etched in the psyche, ‘The Wave’ the shining jewel in the crowned masterpiece that is ‘The Octopus’ album was the obvious and welcome choice for the encore meaning the entire crowd left still wiping their melted faces on their way out the door when the end of the set came seemingly far too soon.
Both bands put on a performance that left you panting for more, igniting a renewed passion for their skullduggerous displays of riff. These are two bands that provide something live that not many others can, which is a technicality bordering on perfection epically juxtaposed with a roaring energy that almost feels improvised.
I would buy those tickets again in a heartbeat and if you are any true music fan I implore you do yourself the favour and join us at the next show.
Words by Matt Miles