Live Review : Terrorvision + The Amorettes @ O2 Ritz, Manchester on May 5th 2019
Bank Holiday train engineering works, and the fact I’m feeling tired and emotional (aka a hangover, from my mate’s wedding the previous day), means I’m dashing to make it to the venue for the support band. Fortunately, I manage to make it into the already reasonably full O2 Ritz just as The Amorettes take to the stage. In the ten years since they started, they’ve shared the stage with some impressive names and made genuine professional connections. Their support slot pal mares includes Europe, W.A.S.P., Ash, The Dead Daisies, Black Stone Cherry, Gun, Thunder and Black Star Riders, with the latter two bands having been heavily involved in The Amorettes’ recent recordings and production. Elements of all those bands are apparent in what this all-female Scottish hard rock band are serving up tonight, and I can’t fault the exceptionally polished delivery of their songs. Having undergone almost a complete line-up change only a few months ago, their vocal harmonies in particular show genuine musicianship. The problem is that it’s all almost too polished though, and for those who like their rock with any snarl, sleaze or debauchery, then you might want to give this band a miss. The songs bleed into one another with a familiar repetition in the drum patterns and bass lines, and it all feels very safe but not exciting. To be fair the crowd seem to be thoroughly enjoying them though, and any fans of this kind of rock should probably give them a chance at the very least.
By the time I’ve made my way up to the balcony for the headliners, I can see the place has filled up. In fact the ‘Sold Out’ marker on social media was no lie, as the venue is packed to the rafters. This short tour by Terrorvision is to celebrate 25 years of the album “How to Make Friends and Influence People” which proved a breakthrough for the Bradford-based rockers. The crowd are here for fun, fun and a bit more fun, and everyone is dancing and singing along to walk-on tune ‘I Like to Move It’ (yes, the Reel 2 Real classic). I can clearly see now that the centrepieces for the on-stage set are a giant T and V made out of bulbs. I worry that they’re going to be distracting during the set, but then Terrorvision take to the stage and allay any fears. Each band member is kitted out in their version of a skin-tight silver outfit, and you can’t help but smile. The crowd go crazy and without further ado the band leap straight into playing through the tour headline album, starting with classic ‘Alice What’s the Matter’.
Frontman Tony Wright bounces around like an excited toddler as ever, and you can't help but love the charismatic and fun vibe that pours out of every member of the band. They play with the vigour and enthusiasm you’d expect from an up and coming band promoting their new album, not a band celebrating 25 years of said album. But that's always been Terrorvision – a partying rock band, that deal in unadulterated fun, who want to enjoy the gig with you as much as perform for you. The crowd feed off their energy, and in turn they feed off every cheer and sung-back lyric. Yep, this is definitely a celebration, a party, it's fun time and we’re all invited - hell, people are even dancing on the chairs and tables up on the balcony. Every single original member of Terrorvision puts on their own little show; Leigh Marklew struts around confidently pounding away on bass, Mark Yates sleazily grooves through his catchy riffs like a British version of Joe Perry, and Tony Wright is everything you could ask for in a frontman – charismatic, enthusiastic, engaging and earnest.
Just when it seems that Wright has run out of steam, he resets himself with a second wind and the entertainment keeps coming thick and fast. Once they've played through the whole of “How to Make Friends and Influence People” they leave the stage for a quick costume change - those silver trousers didn’t look that comfortable I’ve got to say. The first encore, which is more like the start to a second set following an interval, is introduced by solo from Cameron Greenwood on drums. We then get cracking with running through the numerous other hits from each remaining album. If anything the party cranks up a notch with classics including ‘Celebrity Hit List’, ‘Josephine’, ‘D'Ya Wanna Go Faster’, and of course ‘Tequila’. The briefest of second encore breaks ushers in one final sing-a-long for the night with ‘Perseverance’. Every person I walk past on the way out is singing or humming that final song long after it’s finished, with a massive grin on their face. That’s the effect Terrorvision have made on fans for over 25 years, and long may it continue.
Words by Matt Fraser
Photography by Johann Wierzbicki