maandag 29 oktober 2018

A thing called growth. Amber Arcades Live. Sugar Factory, Amsterdam. Friday 26 October 2018

Photo: Wo.
If one word has to sum up my experience in Sugar Factory last night it has to be growth. A second could be confidence, a third fun. The difference with the show I saw circa one and a half year ago before the release of 'Cannonball' with Moss could not be bigger.

On this stage stood a young woman proud of her work, boldly showing her golden suit, a small icon accompanying her latest, and best record to date 'European Heartbreak'. This album was the centre of the show. Most if not all songs were played (I haven't counted) and stood the test. Those familiar with my review of 'European Heartbreak' (read on here: have read my question: How will this body of work stand up live?

Photo: Wo.
The answer was like a piece of cake. With the addition of a keyboard/trumpet player -yes, one can play both at the same time- the extra layers of music on the album, strings and horns, were taken care of. The exquisite guitar playing in the ballads showed the different sides of the lead guitarist's technique and skills. The bass filled in all else with some nice melodies in between the foundation of the band. What stood out live were the beautiful George Harrison inspired guitar melodies supporting the mostly 60s flavoured songs.

The ease on stage Annelotte de Graaf has acquired over the past year shows itself in the fact that she plays a solo song on acoustic guitar, with just a trumpet at the end to accompany her and not playing guitar at all, sitting on the edge of the stage singing a ballad to us. Asking the audience to come real close to listen to a song about feelings and share each other's feelings better. With her just on her guitar. The result, people remained standing up close, intensifying the show even more. Another highlight was the slide guitar duet with beautiful harmonies played between the two. Yes, 'European Heartbreak' stood up to the test and more. It is one of the contenders for best record of 2018. A tough contest it will be though.

Photo: Wo.
With 'It Changes' the set was closed. In my personal opinion this is her best song, released on the EP 'Cannonball' just over a year ago. It has a rocking melody that just will not leave my mind, with a golden chorus I can hear forever. 42 minutes and it was almost over. We received one more ballad, my other favourite of the past 'Fading Lines' and a ballad that exploded into an orgy of feedback and noise.

Only one hour, but all had been said and done. 'European Heartbreak' was the centrepiece of this show and rightly so. An album that deserves being celebrated as a whole. And that my two favourite songs of the past were played as well were the kind of bonus that can make a person so happy. Walking to the tram with a huge smile on face, I was. It was so good to be able to view the development of Amber Arcades' career so up close, awaiting the next step.


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