(ST. LOUIS, MO) In the last seven years, Australian punk rock quartet Amyl and the Sniffers have made quite a splash on the global music scene.
Honestly, consider it more of a raged-up cannonball.
Since their 2016 formation, the Melbourne-based collective have produced a pair of highly-touted underground EPs, their 2019 self-titled, full-length debut claimed “Best Rock Album” in their native land’s annual music industry awards, and their ensuing sophomore release – 2020’s Comfort to Me – resulted in international praise.
However, what makes this band stand out amongst other current acts with similar years of tenure is their high-octane live performances.
With most songs clocking under three whirling-dervish minutes, and with the pure adrenaline that is expected from a bunch of 20-somethings, Amyl and the Sniffers have become a “must-see” when invading checkpoints, whether headlining solo at local venues or supporting a festival amongst thousands.
Launching the back-half of their current 19-city North American tour, the Aussies made their St. Louis debut at The Pageant Wednesday night.
And as expected, the gritty, grungy gang grinded the Gateway City.
Propelled by powerhouse lead singer Amy Taylor – perfectly-defined by one Down Under scribe a few years back as “a cyclone with a blonde mullet” – Amyl and the Sniffers churned a 19-song, 65-minute set that showcased multiple nuggets from their sonic catalogue.
With Taylor’s on-stage rage and perpetual charm as the focal point, equally impressive was the no-bullshit musical chops displayed by guitarist Dec Martens, bassist Gus Romer and drummer Bryce Wilson that provided the backbone for a sweaty, satisfying performance.
As the band took to the Delmar Loop stage under the backing track of Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!,” Taylor approached her mic stand and exclaimed, ”Grrrack, grrack, gloop, gloop! Hello, how ya’ doin’, St. Louis? Let’s get rowdy!”
This declaration set the tone. The freaks in the front were frenzied as a rollicking roller coaster ride was about to ensue.
They started the show with the guitar-chugging “Control” and the pace never subsided.
Most of the material during the night leaned heavily from Comfort to Me as 11 of the 13 tracks from the platter were performed. Standouts included “Security,” “Choices,” “Snakes,” “Guided by Angles” and “Hertz.”
It only took five songs deep for Taylor to strip down to minimal garments and inevitably jump into the manic mosh pit that formed down below.
Additional weight was given to their full-length debut as “Got You,” “Starfire 500,” “Gacked on Anger,” “GFY,” “Shake Ya,” and “Some Mutts (Can’t Be Muzzled)” were equally well-received.
The band was genuinely appreciative throughout the night, even commenting about another concert simultaneously taking place at Enterprise Center.
“We heard that KISS is also here in town,” remarked Taylor in between songs. “We love KISS, but we’re so happy that you came out to see us.”
No matter what tune was played, it appeared that the Pageant audience knew the lyrics to every chorus and chanted along with the headliners in unison.
All throughout, Taylor strutted on-stage with confidence, thrashed her mane, flexed her well-toned muscles, and passionately belted out vocals with conviction while Martens punctuated songs with his own style of crunch on his trusted “Flying V.”
And as the backbeat that helped stomp feet, Romer and Wilson aggressively drove home the rhythm to complement. Overall, the band’s performance was tight and hard charging.
The show concluded with Comfort to Me’s “Knifey,” a track that contains an opening slow build due to subject matter – Taylor’s self-described fears of walking home alone late at night – which ultimately crescendos to an emotional conclusion. A risky pick to end since it’s not an upfront sing-along, but it worked well here.
Overall, Amyl and the Sniffers delivered on all fronts with their highly energized output that sent the crowd home happy.
With Wednesday’s successful shindig, locals can hope that ensuing stops in St. Louis will recur. And if anything, this fret-frenzied faction will be an ongoing fixture of the worldwide musical landscape for years to come.
Safe money says that they will.
The band’s tour continues tonight in Oklahoma City with Texan stops in Dallas and Austin this weekend. For more info, go to their official website.
The evening’s opening act, Texas-based Die Spitz, was an equally enthusiastic unit alongside the headliners. Collectively young (early 20’s) and only two years deep in tenure, the all-female quartet executed a 40-minute set that was well-received.
Longtime friends Ava Schrobilgen, Chloe Andrews and Ellie Livingston rotated vocal duties for the evening, and each brought different methodologies. Livingston was power-driven while Andrews was melodic, and Schrobilgen was guttural. This diversification worked extremely well as the set progressed.
Bassist Kate Halter was a crowd favorite, as she slapped down thunderous basslines while perpetually bouncing, smiling and directly connecting to their first-time audience.
Standouts from the performance included “Hair of Dog” and “Groping Dogs Gushing Blood” from their debut release Teeth.
And whereas Taylor was free to roam during the Sniffers’ set later in the evening thanks to a wireless microphone, Livingston was tethered by an XLR cable. To her credit, she maxed the audio cord’s length to the point of reaching the back row of the Pageant’s left side of tables and belted out lyrics whilst standing on top of them.
If given free reign, one could assume that she would have made it all the way to the venue’s back bar.
In short, Die Spitz gave a very solid performance. As the Sniffers’ Taylor later proclaimed Wednesday night, “They’re so sick!”
The Texans certainly deserve a listen and one can anticipate a bright future ahead with additional years of seasoning.
AMYL AND THE SNIFFERS SETLIST
The Pageant, St. Louis, MO – October 25, 2023
- Freaks to the Front
- Got You
- Gacked on Anger
- Balaclava Lover Boogie
- Shake Ya
- Starfire 500
- Don’t Fence Me In
- Guided By Angels
- Some Mutts (Can’t Be Muzzled)
By trade, he is a six-time, regional Emmy Award-winning news videographer/editor for KTVI/KPLR-TV. By hobby, he is a writer for Arch City Media, dating back to February 2014. Emphasis is on featuring and promoting local women's sports, but will cover anything that is not reported by traditional media outlets. Also a contributor to local concert reviews.