You can be certain that Amongst Liars are thoroughly enjoying themselves. Their latest song, “Wolf Machine,” is playing, and singer Ian George is perched on one speaker stack, while guitarist Leo Burdett stands on another. It’s almost as if they’ve been eagerly anticipating these shows.
The Sussex-based group has been a subject of conversation for some time now, and they’ve been progressing in the right direction. With experience (hailing from the ashes of the superb bands Katalina Kicks and Saint Apache), they exhibit a polished sound. While they embrace modernity, it’s not achingly so. Tracks like “Black Days” and “Ready For This?” resonate with a powerful rumble, but it’s their new song, “The Shameful,” that truly impresses. Many bands can produce a great debut, but the best go on to have a fantastic career, and “The Shameful” may just be the best song in their repertoire, signalling that may just be the case
George picks up an acoustic guitar for “Drown,” a song with genuine depth, while “Burn The Vision” seems tailor-made for venues like the one they’re performing in. In fact, all of their songs are, and that, as one of their songs suggests is “By Design.”
After watching Amongst Liars for 35 minutes, there’s only one conclusion: you’re amongst future stars. Expect to see them headlining venues like this in the not-too-distant future.
About halfway through the set, Theory Of A Deadman’s Tyler Connolly explains how, on Christmas Eve back in 2001, he and guitarist Dave Bremner quit their jobs on a whim because they were “kids who loved playing music.”
Fast forward almost a quarter of a century, and that vibe permeates the entire 90 minutes. They excel in thunderous hooks. From the moment they kick off with the title track of their most recent album, “Dinosaur,” it’s polished and fun. “Bitch Came Back” is catchier than the flu, and you can’t resist “Two Of Us (Stuck)” even though you might want to.
What’s interesting about TOAD is their diversity. Connolly sits at the piano for a few songs, with “Straight Jacket” notably being the standout. Then they’re riffing like AC/DC on “Better Off” or showcasing a more urban influence on “Ambulance.”
There’s a serious side to them too. These are songs that carry meaning. “History Of Violence” addresses domestic abuse (they’re raising money for victims of it here), and “Hate My Life” uplifts as it discusses mental illness.
That one is the last of the main set too, and the encore neatly encapsulates the show. After “RX (Medicate),” they jam on some covers as they did all night, from “Wicked Game” to “Wonderwall,” and through to Alice In Chains. It’s an interesting approach, and “Paradise City”/”Walk” and “Song 2” certainly receive a warm reception.
But it’s their own songs that have brought them this far. “Bad Girlfriend” underscores why. It also validates that decision to quit all those years ago because 20-odd years later, thousands of miles away from home, these songs have connected, and that’s no theory. That’s a fact.