Actually, a word on the crowd. Being a couple of middle-aged blokes of around the half century, we were musing beforehand as to whether or not we would be the oldest in the audience, which we thought might be a crowd of young teen boy metal-moshers, certainly the impression I got from the only other time I've seen the band, emerging after a few hours in a submarine at 2000 Trees festival in 2009 - it was a tad wet. We need not have worried, as the crowd covered everything from young teens to folk even older than us two old codgers, and there were a fair (literal & metaphorical) number of female fans too. The moshing, such as it was, was limited to some spirited head nodding and a happily drunk couple near us shouting "A-Ha" in between songs for some reason.
Amplifier are a hard rock band. That description alone should put me off, as I gave up on hard rock decades ago. What makes this group now float my boat after many months of drip feeding by my colleague and big Amplifier fan Phill, is that at no time is singer Sel tempted to gargle barbed wire, a trait that turns me right off Opeth and dozens of other throat shredders. Sel has a great singing voice and uses it to full effect. Another plus point is that the rock is tempered by many proggish touches, and that combined with Sel's intelligent socio-sci-fi lyrics makes for a compelling listen.
Back to the gig - After a short break, Amplifier, the eight-legged groove machine, emerged dead on their 9:30 scheduled kick-off time to a rousing reception from the 500 strong crowd. Sometime studio cohort and general helping hand Charlie Barnes introduced us to The Octopus, which he placed on top of the bass drum and there it remained until the end.
The eight-legged groove machine then dispensed their brand of heavy-rock-prog (rather than prog-heavy-rock) to an appreciative audience. Sel Balamir, Neil Mahony and Matt Brobin, and for this tour augmented by Steve Durose from Oceansize, effectively played two sets, the first hour and a quarter being 6/8ths, to use an appropriate fraction, of their epic double album The Octopus which live is as heavy as a neutron star. The thing is monstrous!
|There he is!|
After a brief towelling down the band return for the second set, or encore or whatever it was, to play four pre-Octopus songs.
|After the carnage..|
*Not a dig at Muse, but if you're a fan of that band you really should give Amplifier a go!