Kalporz X Monolith Cocktail: (Live Report) Amyl And The Sniffers, Rocca Malatestiana in Cesena, Acieloaperto, June 16, 2022

July 26, 2022

WORDS: Matteo Maioli 

PHOTOS: Roberta Paolucci 

Over the last few years the Monolith Cocktail has been sharing/exchanging a post each month with the leading Italian culture/music site Kalporz. This month Matteo Maioli catches the feted Amyl And The Sniffers live.

A great evening of celebration for the tenth anniversary of a quality review: this is how one photographs the live performance of Amyl and The Sniffers at the Rocca Malatestiana in the midst of a European tour that is rewarding for the quartet led by Amy Taylor. An enviable energy that at times makes up for a lack of originality, the impression is nonetheless that of participating in a collective ritual of raw and simple entertainment fuelled by whiskey, beers, fuck (but now they’ll start saying vaffa) and crowdsurfing. New York Dolls, Motorhead and Pistols all rolled into one, with a Poly Styrene (X-Ray Spex) post litteram.

So organised are the folks at Acieloaperto that they were able to cope with the last-minute absence of Not Moving Ltd due to covid-19 – which then until the day before I had too. In fact we gladly see Solaris again, young but with a defined repertoire and style with an excellent record such as 2020’s Un Paese Di Musichette Mentre Fuori C’è La Morte and the latest collaboration with Ottone Pesante. The Go Down stage thus begins to fill up and after a half-hour of singer-songwriter soul noise we return to the rock ‘n’ roll atmospheres dear to the Sniffers with the Chronics, a historic power-pop trio formed in Bologna in the late 1990s by guitarist and songwriter Stefano Toma with (today) Marco Turci on drums and Michele Rizzoli – ex-Avvoltoi – on bass, which also includes for the occasion guitarist Giuliano Guerrini (Titta and Le Fecce Tricolore) who mixed and played on the new LP Do You Love The Sun? (Puke N’ Vomit Records). Fulcrum of the setlist obviously this latest work, with climaxes that included the splendid “I Did Not Try” and “Gimme Fun“, with melodies suspended between Ramones and The Flaming Groovies. There is no shortage of highlights from previous records such as “Mama Keep Your Big Mouth Shut” (from Suggested For Mature Audiences) and covers – Mike Watt‘s “I Backed Up Into My Self” and 13th Floor Elevators“Levitation”. A tear for “First Time Best Time”: a 1999 single for Rip Off Records, it is a true anthem that will open for such lauded formations today as Judas or The Peawees. To be seen and seen again as the anticipation grows for the Melbourne band.

Bar lines, stadium choirs, and rock t-shirts, everyone wants to be ready for the adrenaline rush of Amyl and The Sniffers. Yet the first two songs sound very low in volume when in fact they are born as incendiary as the self-titled record (Rough Trade, 2019) from which they come. With “Choices” everything is in place, rhythm shot with shirtless bassist Gus Romer shirtless writhing madly; the riff of “Guided By Angels” is greeted by a roar and the pogoing of the rows below the stage. The glam, streetwise look is another detail not to be overlooked – like identifying Valentino Rossi with Romagna, or guzzling alcohol while singing, very lads! – and you can bet that the yellow exhibited by the vocalist will be back in fashion in a (seemingly) post-pandemic season.

“Control” and “Capital” verge on Black Flag hardcore while remaining the best example of their art; on the other hand, “Knifey”, from Comfort To Me, slower and with a new-wave timbre, does not come out as punchy as the studio version. Messy and proud to be so (“I’m Not A Loser”, a manifesto from Big Attraction), rough and fast, these are the Australians live, and “Don’t Need A Cunt (Like You To Love Me)” and “Security” sound like excellent pub tunes, where amidst rivers of beer they declare that pent-up rage against authority. “Hertz”, close to the stuff of the later Idles, leads toward the epilogue of “Some Mutts (Can’t Be Muzzled)” for a short – fifty-five minute – but undoubtedly successful set in which the band fraternised with the audience before, during and after the live show in toasts, photographs and hugs typical of those who follow Acieloaperto and its excellent programming.

The set list of Amyl And The Sniffers at the Rocca Malatestiana:

Gacked on Anger
Got You
Guided by Angels
I’m Not a Loser
Balaclava Lover Boogie
Don’t Need a Cunt (Like You to Love Me)
Starfire 500
Some Mutts (Can’t Be Muzzled)

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