The Amazons

15 November
Manchester Academy

If it’s not frontman Thomson’s distinct flame-shock hair that caught the crowd’s attention as he came into vision, it will absolutely be the anthemic guitars and familiar sound of ‘Fuzzy Tree’ followed by their hit ‘Mother’.

The Amazons’ set was filled with songs from their two studio albums, and included covers of The Beatles’ ‘Helter Skelter’ and Oasis’ ‘Morning Glory’ that only amplified the dynamic atmosphere created by their captivating stage presence from all members of the band, a light-up on-stage structure representing their album artwork and a favourable set list. It was truly unmissable for any fan.

Splitting the upbeat, electric guitar-centric set was their piano ballad, ‘Palace’, which accentuated Thomson’s underrated vocals, which were also proven in their stripped back acoustic versions of a handful of their tracks. ‘Palace’ was certainly a crowd favourite; the lyrics reverberating around the room and back to the band.

Appreciation for Manchester and its status as a home of rock ’n’ roll was evident with Thomson’s speech: “Feels like the end of the tour… But it fucking might as well be, because we’re in Manchester town!” Oasis classic ‘Morning Glory’ then opened the encore, before transitioning into their own classic, ‘Junk Food Forever’. After a short, gratifying speech from Thomson, they ended the night with ‘Black Magic’, a song that left the crowd of thousands on an unbeatable euphoric high.

Jennifer Brown

Photography inset by Jennifer Brown. See more photography from the show here.

Henge

19 October
Academy 2

A healthy crowd turned out for the latest landing of Henge in Manchester. Unlike the War of the Worlds, which is currently undergoing yet another reimagining, these extra-terrestrials come in peace. And love. And all that fabled 1960s hippy spirit that bred a hotbed prog rock.

These personas are central to the spectacle. From when ringleader and spokesperson Zpor introduces the concept in vocoded tones while flanked by sceptre-wielding faceless mimes, through to leading a conga through an enraptured audience, eyes are glued to the four performers. Their debut album in called Attention Earth; it didn’t take long to show justify the name.

Their backstories are furthered by ‘The Great Venusian Apocalypse’, which, although described as a “lament” and carries a serious climactic undercurrent (for those who can speak Venusian…), is conversely upbeat and even puts a donk on it for the bombastic, body poppin’ finale.













The music itself is often hi-octane, visceral, impossible to ignore and captures the chord books of Goldfrapp and Goat, Beastie Boys and Chemical Brothers (‘Get Outta My House’), Diana Ross and Tame Impala (‘Indigo Dust’) and spaghetti western soundtracks, all swirling into an intergalactic vortex and catapulting the resulting mass onto your eardrums. They’re preaching to the converted by the time ‘Demilitarise’ tells another tale of human wrongs through the medium of repeated chanting.

This is Daft Punk but dafter.

Ian Pennington