Amyl and the Sniffers

Velvet Underground, Toronto ON, July 22

Photo: Matt Forsythe

BY Anthony DamiaoPublished Jul 23, 2019

If you don't like Amyl and the Sniffers, chances are you don't like rock'n'roll. Amyl have mercy on your soul. Amyl and the Sniffers are an Australian four-piece of mullet thrashing punk-rockers who — in only three years of existence — have already attracted a devout following around the world, thanks to their brash, full-speed-ahead style and their raucous live shows.
A rainy Monday didn't stop Amyl and their admirers from burning the house down at Toronto's packed-to-the-gills Velvet Underground. Admirers — perhaps lunatics is more appropriate for those willing to enter the raucous mosh pit with a full can of $9 beer — meant that cans going up in fizz overhead was a theme of the evening.
After eight weeks of touring, frontwoman Amy Taylor showed no signs of fatigue, dancing and thrashing around as though convinced whiplash was the next big thing. A dynamic performer, Taylor's distinctive voice can go from deadpan to furious in a wink and showed no signs of succumbing to their rigorous touring schedule. Of course, it's her job to be on the ball at every show, but in keeping with her reputation, she went above and beyond Monday night. Stage diving multiple times during a show is one thing; appearing to stare down and sing to every single audience member as an individual with any hint of sincerity is another. Managing both in the same set is a strange and impressive tightrope to walk.
It's understandably difficult for an instrumentalist/backup vocalist to draw attention to themselves while standing still next to such a frenetic frontwoman, but guitarist Declan Martens was jaw-droppingly good.  If the band's terrific new LP had one shortcoming, it might be a failure to fully convey what a bad-ass guitar player he is. His piercing licks cut through the four-on-the-floor juggernaut of a rhythm section like nobody's business.
"Monsoon Rock," "Angel" and "I'm Not A Loser" seemed to be the fan favourites of the night, although the energy in the room never wavered from frantic, fun-as-hell, top-end red, so picking highlights seems pointless. The diverse crowd of punk fans, young and old, never faded in the face of Amyl and the Sniffers' garish abandon.

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