Live review: Frontiers / The Amber Herd / Made of Leaves

3 May

Frontiers, The Amber Herd and Made of Leaves played at The Maze on Thursday 30 April 2009

Reviewed for LeftLion.co.uk

First to the stage were Made of Leaves, a five-piece with a refreshing approach to song writing and a manner that was both engaging through their music, and aloof through their performance. They featured three guitarists, creating a dense yet surprisingly complex wall of noise that hit hard, then slowly engulfed you in sound. Playing a set of tight, dynamic, powerful tunes full of layers and intricacies, they came across as an eloquent English answer to the American, Minus the Bear. With their thoughtfully constructed songs and quiet energy, you could tell that these guys are as serious about songcraft as they are about performing a great live show.

Next were The Amber Herd, who brought a different tone to the night with a lively and spirited set. Obviously passionate and full of energy, these guys really put a lot into their live show. With solos played on a fuzzed-up acoustic guitar, a nice electronic element from their keyboard player, and songs ranging from upbeat indie to heartfelt ballads, they projected themselves as a band who like to keep things fresh and always moving forward.

Headlining the night were Frontiers, who played a stunning set of straight-up indie rock with style and bags of crowd-pleasing energy. Frontiers have a stage presence that is just the right side of arrogant, and their passion for playing live is clear – they started out looking oh so serious, but by the end they couldn’t help grinning! The songs were inventive, punchy and had some excellent drum and bass breakdowns, which tumbled in to choppy, echoing choruses. With catchy hooks that stayed ringing in my ears, great musicianship and a wonderfully melodic sound, I could see why they’ve been having such airplay success recently (a 19-week stint on BBC East Midlands and nationwide coverage on 6Music), but from seeing them live, I know that Frontiers are a band that no one will be forgetting any time soon, and they’re not to be missed.

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