Last night my friend Jon and I went to the Moth Club in Hackney to see a band we really enjoyed at End of the Road. And whose album I have been playing incessantly recently. The album is “Fading Lines”, the band Amber Arcades, led by Annelotte de Graaf. They are from the Netherlands.
The Moth Club is based in what seemed to be an old soldiers’ club. It had a decent bar, serving good beers, a strangely glittery ceiling and a similarly flash backdrop to the stage. The place was pretty packed for Amber Arcades and got rather warm.
We missed the first act, but saw second support Ella, who is the keyboard player in Amber Arcades. She had the band’s guitarist Manuel with her too. She played a nice set of mellow, kind of torchy tunes, mostly on her electric guitar. Annelotte joined her for the last song.
And so, on to the band themselves. Fronted by Annelotte on dreamy vocals and pristine guitar, with Manuel playing most of the shimmering guitar runs and Ella adding harmonies and a depth to the music. All backed up by a really tight bass and drum combination. I just love the melodies, Annelotte’s voice and those soaring, chugging, crystalline guitars. A wonderful sound.
The album is great, but live the songs are even better. They may not change the world, but they combine U2, Velvet Underground, Blondie, Abba, and, more obscurely perhaps, Veronica Falls for the rhythm and Mazzy Star and the lovely Hope Sandoval, for the dreamy vocals and wistful ballads. Whether all or any of these are influences, who knows. But Amber Arcades, like all good bands, absorb the influences and make the sound their own.
The whole album got an airing, I think, and of course they ended with the epic “Turning Light”. Highlights for me were inevitably “Fading Lines” – such great guitars – and “Come with Me” with its so-catchy melody. And I loved “Constant’s Dream” with Annelotte starting the song with that simply strummed electric guitar and more of those dreamy vocals.
But it was all good. So good. I hope they have great success. They are getting a great reaction already, but there is so much competition out there. They’ll be doing a lot of gigging to build that following I guess. And when they are in a London I will be there!
For “Turning Light” their regular guitarist, whose name I’ve now forgotten – sorry! – came on. He’s been at “school”, which I presume means university or similar.