AMBER ARCADES – LATEST MUSIC BAR, BRIGHTON 12.10.18
Amber Arcades is the moniker of Dutch musician Annelotte de Graaf and she returned to Brighton in support of her newly released second album ‘European Heartbreak’ which came out a few weeks ago on Heavenly Recordings. Funnily enough Amber Arcades was to be the first of two Heavenly Recordings artists that I would see perform live in Brighton over the weekend, as the following night it would be the turn of Halo Maud at The Rialto Theatre. You can read that review HERE.
Having written and recorded songs in a solo setting for some time, in 2015 Annelotte flew out to New York and teamed up with producer Ben Greenberg to record her excellent debut album ‘Fading Lines’. The album hit the streets in 2016 and saw de Graaf exploring a new set of influences, presenting floating pop melodies over mantric guitar lines.
Here we are a couple of years later and the 28th September 2018, became an important date in Annelotte’s calendar, as that was the date that her second long player, ‘European Heartbreak’ hit the streets. Having purchased the first album, ‘Fading Lines’ and seen Amber Arcades perform live twice before in Brighton (Komedia and Green Door Store), I was eagerly anticipating her forthcoming gig and second platter.
A few days prior to her latest Brighton gig, I purchased the new LP in Resident Music and have so far played it in full four times. At this moment in time, I must convey that I prefer her debut ‘Fading Lines’ more than the new one. Obviously I have played the first album many more times, but the latest offering seems to have veered away from the romanticised past vibe of the initial debut and headed more into European political ground. It just seems less dream guitar/synthy and possibly heading towards country and is definitely ensconced in Radio 2-land.
This fact didn’t go amiss with tonight’s crowd at the Latest Music Bar in Brighton, where Annelotte earlier on in her fifteen song set, made reference from coming from a mysterious land aka Europe. The ‘Goodnight Europe’ Brexit fallout has seemed to have already started and as one chap at the back of the venue replied to her, that he wishes that we were to remain in Europe.
The Latest Music Bar was a replacement venue for the concert, (which was one of 26 European gigs being staged from June to October) as it was initially booked for the larger Haunt venue located a short distance away. However, the new venue allowed for a more intimate affair and was in my opinion all the more better for it.
Annelotte was sporting her golden tracksuit as seen on the cover of the new LP and proudly informed the crowd that she was overjoyed having just purchased prior to tonight’s gig a Yamaha guitar for a mere £50 from Cash Converters in Brighton. Sadly this still didn’t make Brighton her favourite place in the whole of the UK. It was rated second though, with Bristol gaining her accolade. At least she was honest.
Certain members of the band were a tad more mobile than the two previous Amber Arcades Brighton gigs that I have witnessed, with the guitarist hovering dangerously above my head. Mind you I got a few decent photos as a result of this. Hats off must indeed go to the keyboardist and trumpet player, who somehow at times managed to play both instruments at exactly the same time – Not witnessed that before!
The band performed the new album in its entirety, eleven songs, plus two tracks from the 2017 ‘Cannonball’ EP and sadly just two tunes from the 2016 ‘Fading Lines’ album and thus omitting the terrific title track ‘Fading Lines’. The highlight tunes for myself on the night were ‘Right Now’ and ‘It Changes’. The latter starting exactly like David Bowie’s ‘Rebel Rebel’. In fact, the chap next to me even looked down at the tracklist on the floor in front of us near the beginning of the song, to double-check that it was or was not ‘Rebel Rebel’ – I knew exactly what he was thinking.
So all-in-all I would say that Amber Arcades should be given the Amber light for this gig.
The setlist was:
‘Simple Song’ (taken from ‘European Heartbreak’ 2018 album)
‘Right Now’ (taken from ‘Fading Lines’ 2016 album)
‘Oh My Love (What Have We Done)’ (taken from ‘European Heartbreak’ 2018 album)
‘Goodnight Europe’ (taken from ‘European Heartbreak’ 2018 album)
‘Alpine Town’ (taken from ‘European Heartbreak’ 2018 album)
‘I’ve Done The Best’ (taken from ‘European Heartbreak’ 2018 album)
‘Self-Portrait In A Car At Night’ (taken from ‘European Heartbreak’ 2018 album)
‘Something’s Gonna Take Your Love Away’ (taken from ‘European Heartbreak’ 2018 album)
‘Where Did You Go’ (taken from ‘European Heartbreak’ 2018 album)
‘Which Will’ (taken from ‘Cannonball’ 2017 EP)
‘Antoine’ (taken from ‘European Heartbreak’ 2018 album)
‘It Changes’ (taken from ‘Cannonball’ 2017 EP)
‘Hardly Knew’ (taken from ‘European Heartbreak’ 2018 album)
‘Come With Me’ (taken from ‘Fading Lines’ 2016 album)
‘Baby, Eternity’ (taken from ‘European Heartbreak’ 2018 album)
More info on Amber Arcades below: