Concert Review: Amyl & the Sniffers- Comfort to Me Tour 2022 with Special Guests - Bob Vylan & Ganser
Writing and Photography by Bobby Talamine
Edited by Fiza Javid
Wednesday, September 28, 2022
So here we go again - Round two with Amyl and the Sniffers, bringing their volatile live show back to Chicago yet again- a bigger venue- The Vic Theatre, along with a bigger stage presence.
Nothing much else has changed in regards to rip roaring performance, courtesy of Amy Taylor, their lead singer and all around firebrand.
Doesn't matter the size of the venue- doesn't matter the size of the festival and the time they go on- doesn't matter the amount of time allotted when asked to perform- whether it be 20 minutes, or up to a little over an hour, as was the case at The Vic Theatre in Chicago.
Each and every performance I've witnessed firsthand with them, they make it their own, and you walk away with the "What did I just see happen?' Or "How the hell does Amy keep things going at 100 miles per hour, all the way up to and into the end of the show with no let up?"
I don't have answers to these questions yet again.
Neither did I back in mid May, when they came through town on a Saturday night at the Logan Auditorium.
Surprised that that venue is still standing after that performance, with a mosh pit mostly of women holding court front and center.
And here we are at The Vic, on a mid day work week, and we have a main floor, first tier, second tier to the the soundboard packed for tonight's beatdown.
So what has changed?
They have a gigantic backstage banner, in black, with Amyl and the Sniffers front and center, with a lion added in for good measure.
Although kinda old school, the addition of the lion says lots.
The male lion depicted is a beast. The lord of the jungle. The main focal point of the tribe.
So in that aspect, welcome to the world of Amyl and the sniffers.
Outside of the banner, all things are still quite minimal, like a true hardcore slash punk rock show- no different when the likes of Jesus Lizard commanded this stage at The Vic years ago, or The Cramps, or any other cool and unhinged kinda hardcore rock act.
Minimal stage equals eyes focused on musicians and lead singers.
Especially lead singers that know how to command an audience, such as a David Yow, or a Lux Interior, or an Amy Taylor.
So how do you best describe a band such as Amyl and the Sniffers?
Well first off, I believe they don't care what you think.
Witness them firsthand before making your decision, or coming to conclusions.
And don't mistake a YouTube anything live with them, it's clearly not the same as actually being there.
They'll most likely say something to that effect.
They don't have the time for bullshit.
And I'm sure they find coming to a some sort of conclusion with all of this laughable.
Hell, I find it laughable even bringing it up, let alone taking the time to uncover some nuggets from this and that writer, especially in their earlier years, when they were performing in lots of friends living rooms, in and around Melbourne.
Suffice it say that most have come to the conclusion of, and variations on a theme of pub rock mixed with punk rock, or some version of hardcore '70's rock thrown in, and all round lawlessness, or lawless attitude.
All of these assumptions are kinda right, and also not telling the whole story.
It's obvious as a whole that they fight for what they get.
They work hard at seeing this maintain, and come to fruition, even if by all accounts it could have all started as a joke in a middle of a weekend bender, and who's left standing, knowing any instruments be damned.
The definition of being born care free, mistakes added for good measure, cover songs to start of bands we dig, original music to follow, once we find that we tolerate each other.
That formula works, again and again again.
So looking at where we're at with the band as a whole, you have a front woman who kicks ass, can yell in a timely and righteous manner, has the looks and the demeanor of a gymnast or wicked cheerleader, wearing skin tight this and that that is somewhat provocative, but if you get close, she'll kick you in the nuts, bit still she wear outfits that allow her to bodysurf and shake things up audience wise, and come out of it time and time again unscathed.
Plus if things do get a bit out of hand, she has loyal bodyguards on stage watching what's going down- that being lead guitarist Dec Martens, and bassist Gus Romer.
Have seen Dec firsthand scare the shit out of some wayward num nuts who thought otherwise with Amy surfing by.
On top of that, they're developing quickly in stage presence, in tightness as a band, in ferociousness as a whole, with confidence front and center.
Doesn't matter the song- from opener "Control", through the middle with "Gacked on Anger" into "Westgate", Into "Shake Ya", into "Maggot", all the way through to the end, with no encore- "Some Mutts (Can't Be Muzzled)".
All of it- some 19 songs in total, mean business, and a fight.
They're playing for keeps folks.
I don't need to get into specifics with Amy- more writers than me have been there- done that.
This is a band man.
A four piece all equal, and up for the challenge.
Kinda like fellow Aussies from back in the day- that being AC/DC. Yes, you've had wicked lead singers, and a wicked lead guitarist.
But the hidden gem was always Malcom on rhythm guitar, and Cliff Williams on propulsive bass.
Same goes with Amyl and the Sniffers, with flame throwing chunks of sound from Dec Martens, and a heavy duty rhythm section in Gus on bass, and Bryce Wilson on drums.
The three of them- propulsive as all get out.
Can't explain it more than that- outside of I need to see this band each and every time they pass through town.
That- and they're sure damn fun, bringing out the 23 year old in me who doesn't give a damn, at least for a couple hours.
As for openers Bob Vylan and Chicago's very own Ganser-
After Bob's ultra torqued performance at The Vic, makes me wish I changed my schedule at Riot Fest a couple weeks back, when Bob perfomed at the Rebel Stage- his performance was that good.
For a two piece- a drummer, and also Bob, with punch your gut samples thrown in, and a frontman in Bob, who could easily come off as a star forward on any professional soccer team, with a physique to match, let alone a guy who certainly knows how to mix it up with no problem moshpit wise, let alone dive in to the main floor and rap a few songs...the makings of another volatile performer who know how to swing for the fences in a brief set.
Same with openers Ganser, who never cease to amaze creativity wise, from their full length "Just Look At That Sky", to their recent announcement of a new EP release- "Nothing You Do Matters".
Composed of bassist / vocalist Alicia Gaines, keyboardist / vocalist Nadia Garofalo, guitar firebrand Charlie Landsman, and drummer Brian Cundiff- this is also a band that has chops and confidence and songwriting that grabs your attention, even in their brief set as well.
Absolutely adore this band, and what they bring to the table, whether it be headlining at the Empty Bottle, performing at Riot Fest, or opening for whomever, (Amyl included).
They're the definition of hardworking grass roots, with songwriting chops that bring with it a heightened state of too many themes to mention, which goes to show they have ears to the ground with solid musicianship to see ideas come to fruition.
I know that's lots to say, but time and time again, they pull it off, songwriting wise, and also performance wise.
Ganser are invigorating.
And you should check them out.
Such a show- a one / two / three punch knockout from all three bands.
Bobby Talamine - JBTV Music Television Chicago