Review: Love Zombies/The Amorettes – Exchange, Bristol

Facebook, as I can’t wait to see what happens to their sound as they grow and develop. The bill was a joint headline show, and tonight it was the turn of The Amorettes to act as support. Suddenly things step up a gear and get professional when, with some intro music, drummer Hannah McKay takes to the stage and launches into a blistering rhythm. Off stage, and out of view, her sister Heather pounded out some thumping bass lines, and guitarist/singer Gill led them out to a suddenly much livelier crowd, as they launched into “Steal The Thunder” and “Get What’s Coming”. This is just what Rock ‘n’ Roll should be. No messing around. No overlong solos or pretentious lyrics, just a driving rhythm section, a gorgeous raw guitar sound, and a voice that ranges from a raspy growl to a howling scream. The Amorettes are making a real name for themselves in the business, and it is easy to see why. Songs from the new album form the bulk of the set, and each and every one is a masterclass in good, old fashioned rock, updated for the present. The crowd loved it, and the girls fed off their reaction with hair flying and constant movement around the stage. Favourites in the set were the bass led “Crusader” and “Hot And Heavy”, but the one that was still in my head hours later was “Let The Neighbours Call The Cops”, which is the sort of song that can easily get you a ticket for speeding if you have it on in the car. It was my first experience of The Amorettes, and I am already watching for more local gigs so that I can take a few friends and share the experience. Last up were a band that I came across at Download in 2015, and fell in love with before the end of the first song, Love Zombies. You may have come across Hollis, the singer (from Pennsylvania, but Californian in every way) before, as she has spent some time working with Ginger Wildheart in Hey! Hello!, but this is her own project in collaboration with songwriter and New Zealand born guitarist, Davey Fitzsimmons. Backed by a group of visually and musically diverse musicians, it is almost impossible to compartmentalise Love Zombies. Hollis is unique. Her voice has elements of Cyndi Lauper, Debbie Harry, and Toni Basil, but when added to her amazing stage presence and the pop punk energy of the songs, that becomes something totally different and is remarkably engaging. Many of the songs tonight came from the pledge album “Passion Fruit”, and Hollis seems genuinely grateful when she thanks those in the audience who have supported the band by paying to own it (and immensely relieved that customs have finally released the physical copies!). Some of the props that were so engaging when I first saw the band (the trampoline would have been impossible due to the low ceiling, for example) were missing tonight, but that just focussed attention on just how good a front woman she is, as songs such as “International Bug”, “Robots And Aliens” and a sensational cover of the Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” flashed past far too quickly. Three great bands. All totally different, and all with, I hope, big futures ahead of them. Review and Photography: Rob Wilkins  

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 Flowerpot | The Amorettes | Love Zombies

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