Pele / Amsterdam – Live Review – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
By Victoria Holdsworth, April 2018
Known as Amsterdam since 1999, the guys took to the stage tonight at the Brudenell like a victorious band of crusading troubadours. A quick chirpy hello from Ian, and they crack straight into ‘Don’t Worship Me’ and ‘Land Of The Free’.
Right from the off Mr. Prowse had the Pele/Amsterdam massive in the palm of his hand. There was a comfortable turn out this evening for what is the 25th anniversary of the second and final Pele album, Sport of Kings.
Never a dull moment with this lot, the room is filled with a pulsating energy that is noticeable on every face, and the crowd are on top form tonight, belting out every single word with Ian.
‘Spirit Of The Times’ and ‘Fireworks’ see everyone singing along in fine voice, and from the look on the bands faces, they are loving every single minute of it, and they are barely even warmed up yet!
There was no let up this evening, as the songs just kept coming, back to back, with only a slight smattering of banter tonight from Ian. He certainly meant business as he rocked into the chorus rousing ‘Oh Lord’ and one of my own personal favourites from tonight, ‘Chosen One’.
The fiddle playing from Laura McKinley this evening is second to none, despite it being hard to hear her above the rest of the band, but mostly the audience, who by this point were in a full on folk rock frenzied state. Pele/Amsterdam will leave you breathless in more ways than one.
There was an epic version of ‘Name and Number’ tonight, which really sets this band apart. The atmosphere is charged even more as the evening continues and ‘Policeman’, once again, has everyone raising the roof when Ian sings: ‘If I ever go to leave stop me and tell me you love me.’ And there is nothing more certain than the fact that these fans do love Ian.
Other stand out tunes were definitely the politically charged ‘Fat Black Heart’, with its impassioned and poignant Weller-referencing lyrics: ‘How can you close your eyes to the pain, of someone’s loss helping your gain?’
Another firm favourite tonight was ‘Raid The Palace’, which really got the floor shaking.
In a complete contrast to all the tunes that had gone before, it was eventually time for the band to do a few slower numbers, and undoubtedly have a bit of a rest. So we are treated to two emotive and heartfelt renditions of ‘Understanding Sadness’ and the thought provoking and emotively heartfelt, ‘Does This Train Stop At Merseyside’. This is the song that reduced the late John Peel to tears live on air, and tonight was no exception. There were certainly a few moist tear ducts in the eyes of the Brudenell faithful; such is the intimacy in which they all play this song, you cannot help but be moved by it.
The talents of Johnny Barlow on guitar are to be applauded tonight, as he rocked out some cheeky little extra riffs, and he really does play from the heart.
Sadly, as we are approaching the end of the set, Ian shouts to his adoring masses: “There’s no point in an encore, plus it would take longer to get off and back on again in this room, so we’re just gonna play two more songs and get off, and I’ll see you at the bar.”
The audience’s ears prick up, because it is like a secret code amongst Pele/Amsterdam fans, as to what is coming next: ‘The Pain Of A Drinking Song’, which tells the tale of an ex-girlfriend of Ian’s in Bradford, who broke his heart just at the very point that his musical career was taking off. He found her half naked bit-on-the-side, when he went to visit her to tell her he’d been signed.
The words to this song everybody can relate to and it is almost sadistically happy in its tempo, whilst it shades the darkness and despair and humiliation in the lyrics right through to the last vitriolic line of: ‘And I flew into a rage, so I’ve been told, but I, I did his car, I did the bastard’s car.’
The very last song tonight is taken from Ian’s solo album, Who Loves Ya Baby, and it is one of the best songs from his entire repertoire.
‘I Did It For Love’ is a samba-sounding gem of a tune, with a blistering chorus and some hooks that will knock you for six. This song is so passionate and comes straight from the heart, and the whole band puts every fibre of their beings into it. And even though they reach the end of the song and the band are making their way off the stage, the crowds just keeps booming the chorus, over and over again for the next five minutes, and it is a fitting end to one of the hardest working bands in the UK.
This is a band that can inspire you, give you lessons in life, history, love, humility and creativity, all in one glorious, musical swoop.