Review: Amigo The Devil – Classic Grand, Glasgow

“Shut the Fuck up!” Emotions are running high tonight and for good reason but first…

Florida native Danny Kiranos who performs under the name Amigo The Devil brings his unique brand of murderfolk to Glasgow as his tour comes to an end. For this run of shows he is accompanied by a full backing band and I was not going to miss it.

I have been a fan of Amigo’s music for a few years now. The tragic stories woven into his songs have fuelled and helped me with my own depression, I was sure that tonight would be a challenging listen nonetheless.

Making an understated appearance onstage armed with only a banjo Kiranos performs ‘People Who Die’ on his own. It was hilarious hearing him sing the line “There’ll always be people at the show who paid to watch the whole thing on their phones” as smartphones were suddenly lowered out of sight. When the time comes for a little call and response from the packed venue he is stunned by the deafening volume of the crowd bellowing “People Who Die”. Believing he would have to work the audience up and that would just be a practice run. Oh, but the crowd got louder! And Louder! The band makes their way onstage during ‘Dahmer Does Hollywood’ and Danny Remarks “Always fuckin’ late” to much laughter. The added weight of the band gives the song (and the rest of the set) more menace and drama. It’s the first of many sing-a-longs as Kiranos lets the audience finish the song. It’s a beautiful moment that’s followed by rapturous applause as if everyone is applauding for each other.

Danny Kiranos has a lot to say and is very talkative tonight. “Over the years I’ve realised all the best relationships I’ve had have been formed by meeting people the same fuckin’ type of crazy as me”. “As long as your type of insane doesn’t fuck someone else’s life up, I think it’s worth embracing that!” With that the band kicks off ‘If I’m Crazy’ which, with the added instrumentation could be in a Tarantino or David Lynch movie. The reverb-soaked electric guitar of David Talley washes over the rest of the band and it’s gorgeous! Before ‘Different Anymore’ Danny tells the tragic story of his friend’s suicide, “That’s Fuckin’ Heart-breaking” yells a voice from out of the darkness. “It is, it sucks” replies Danny. He is stopped mid-sentence and leans into the crowd toward the side of the stage. “Shut The Fuck Up!” Some asshole is laughing through the story. I have to say he handled himself amazingly well, even telling the crowd not to shame him when they all started booing (despite this it was quite clear that Danny gave him daggers for the rest of the night).

After something so raw it’s almost bizarre when Smash Mouth’s ‘All Star’ is crammed into the beginning of ‘I Hope Your Husband Dies’. I’m genuinely amazed that nearly everyone in the room knows the song word for word. Danny doesn’t feel the need to sing it with them. Regaling us with another story we are told the origins of the song. “You wanna hear the story about this song?” “You’re not gonna like it!” Written for his friend who had just started seeing a new guy. He played it to them and they both hated it. They ended up getting married and shortly after, the husband died. When the crowd sings along again he remarks “Feels different now, doesn’t it”.

“Here’s the thing about cults, they’re bad and you shouldn’t join them” He warns us before ’Hungover In Jonestown’ is transformed into a raucous drinking song. “If you feel like singing along please do, if you don’t feel like singing along …change your mind.” Halfway through the song, we are treated to a menacing build-up followed by a dramatic piano instrumental played by keyboardist Katerina (Danny’s sister) whose hypnotic snake dancing could rival Stevie Nicks.

“Bad news, good news. Good news is you are a goddamn blessing and I love this city. The bad news is we only have time for two more” What Danny says next is refreshing. “I hate adult hide and seek, I fuckin’ hate encores. They’re so stupid.” As the chords of ‘Hell And You’ are played on Danny’s banjo he says “This is for all of you except for the one fuckin’ guy that wouldn’t shut up for the whole show, but mostly it’s for someone else!” The penultimate sing-a-long has Kiranos taken aback “Holy fuckin’ Shit!” Despite the songs being dark narratives there is such a great energy in the room.

And to round off the evening the song everyone has been wanting all night. “Murder At The Bingo Hall” turns the dance floor into a mosh pit!

Danny Kiranos stands on stage absolutely spent and visibly overwhelmed by the love and support of the audience. Even from the back of the venue, I can see him shaking. Earlier in the evening Danny had lamented on what makes a successful show. “It’s not how many people there are, it’s not the size of the room. There’s one big factor that I came to as a conclusion. It’s at the end of this show and throughout it, everybody starts shedding shame and fear and guilt and by the end of it you get to be the exact fuckin’ person you feel like being in that moment and we get to do it together”. It’s a beautiful sentiment and it’s echoed by the audience who were absolutely fantastic with the exception of one roaster. With that in mind, I’d say this was a triumphant success.

The night was a cathartic release of many emotions for a lot of people, full of tragedy and dry humour. I genuinely thought I’d leave feeling low but as we are spat out onto the streets of Glasgow I actually leave feeling a degree of elation having shed some baggage in the venue if only for a short while….

Review – Colin Plumb

Connect with Amigo The Devil – here.

All live images – Dave Jamieson

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