The Exeter Phoenix often promises to provide a good night of entertainment. From the comfy bar to the intimate yet large(ish) auditorium, it’s clear to see why the venue has such a devout following. On Saturday 17th September, Lewis Watson was the headliner, but it was Amber Run who came away as the most exciting act of the night.
The opener was the energetic Swedish singer-songwriter, Andreas Moe. Moe’s falsetto choruses and hook-filled romance songs were very well received by Watson’s mostly teenage fanbase. His performance was very accomplished and he came across as an absolute professional, slowly becoming more endearing as he teased the crowd with some inter-song banter.
Next up were the ever-impressive, harmony filled, indie-pop rockers, Amber Run. PearShaped have been keeping an eye on these guys ever since they stormed the Cavern last Winter. A year on, Amber Run were just as infectious as before, showcasing new songs and better harmonies. Their set was jam-packed with festival tunes that are crying out for a big fanbase to sing back at them. Opener, Pilot, showcased the rockier side of the band with a monster half-time chorus as singer, Joe Keogh belted, “I don’t want to be the centre of anything, just a part of something bigger”. Other highlights included the beautifully delicate I Found, the band’s breakthrough track, Noah, and a couple of harmony driven songs that are yet to be titled. Amber Run are clearly a band who are ready to take the next step and play their own headline shows. Keep an eye out for the album, it’s set to be a good one.
The final act of the evening was the incredibly popular online sensation, Lewis Watson. Watson is often considered a YouTube success story, but it’s important to note that he is a songwriter of his own accord. Playing a long set that spanned well over an hour, Watson and his simple but effective band played the majority of his debut album, The Morning, and also a few new tracks that pleased his followers. He has a knack for a catchy chorus and a slow build of emotion through a song. The highlight of his set was the irresistibly catchy folk-pop track, Into The Wild. While Watson seemed comfortable on stage, the songs sometimes fell a little flat, sounding sparse. Stand-out moments definitely appeared to coincide with the times that he switched to electric guitar and turned the volume up slightly. While Watson put on a decent gig to his adoring fanbase, Amber Run stole the show.