Music, Reviews

Amyl and the Sniffers review (Lansdowne Hotel, Sydney)

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When I first heard about Amyl & the Sniffers I was sceptical. The hype was that they were a great Aussie band that blended punk and good ole fashioned pub rock. Awesome, I thought, sounds terrible. Most great Australian rock bands transcend these labels (think Beasts of Bourbon, for one).

Then I saw the video for their song “Some Mutts (Can’t be Muzzled”) from their debut self-titled album, released this year, and I was mightily impressed. To describe their sound as a combination of pub and punk is fair, however, they are tighter than most and their tunes are in general of a higher quality. Perhaps most importantly for a purported punk band, there is an air of authenticity about them. Vocalist Amy Taylor belts out her frustrations and outrage at the lot of the precariat on “Gacked on Anger”, sexism on “I’m not a Loser” and much else besides on “GFY (Go Fuck Yourself)”.

Amyl & the Sniffers’ short set began with “Cup of Destiny” from their new album. The packed Lansdowne reacted immediately to the intensity Taylor in particular gave off. Their more expansive numbers are generally superior on record to their simpler and focused pure punk songs. “Balaclava Lover Boogie” from their Big Attraction EP was a case in point. It came hot on the heels of “Cup of Destiny”, writhing as well as boiling it gave the obviously talented band something more to play with.

Amyl & the Sniffers are keeping the spirit and sound of rock n roll alive in a world that mostly prefers sweeter and less forthright music.

“Westgate” was another example of the above. A great song with a superior chorus riff it was somewhat sloppily played on the night but Taylor’s performance carried the day. The set highlight was “Control”. Perhaps it was the lyrics that speak of someone craving agency over their own life that connected with an audience obviously familiar with the band’s material? It was certainly appropriate on a day when millions around the world protested for democratic control over the ecosystem. Taylor offered support for the protesters and those who didn’t bother by adding, “I don’t give a fuck, we’re all gonna die anyway”.

There was some confusion toward the end of the set over timing but it was finally settled that the entertainment would end with “Some Mutts (Can’t be Muzzled)”, which was excellent, followed by “Monsoon Rock” which is partly an ode to their hometown of Mullumbimby on the steamy north coast of NSW.

Amyl & the Sniffers are keeping the spirit and sound of rock n roll alive in a world that mostly prefers sweeter and less forthright music. Their current tour in support of their debut album has taken them from the club stages of America to the festivals of Europe. Their show at the Lansdowne in Sydney proved that they might be around for a while as they have plenty to offer.


Feature pic: from Amyl and the Sniffers’ self-titled album

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