Bubbles are dancing over the heads of the audience, while some are moving wildly to Amy’s catchy song. It must be about 100 degrees in here commented the singer, and I agree that it really feels like that. Even though Amy MacDonald and her band played more than 1.5 hours, we could have listened a lot longer to the likeable Scot and her balanced, pleasant songs. Since 3 weeks Amy MacDonald is with her new 4th studio album “Under Stars” on tour and also stopping by at the new Zurich concert location, Samsung Hall. With 5000 visitors the concert is sold out on this Friday evening.
Shortly after doors opened, it is quite crowded and chaotic in and around the lobby. Crisscross the concert visitors are pushing searching direction towards the wardrobe, while the others trying to get into the opposite way to the food stalls. Everything is still very new, one doesn’t know it well yet. From far you can smell already the pasta, sausages or tarte flambé among the versatile selection. While some are eyeing the various fan articles at the merchandise stand, others are going outside again into the cool evening air. Already before the concert it’s very warm in the building, during the evening it is even increasing inside the hall. But that’s about the only uncomfortable thing I notice this evening in the new concert location. It’s my first visit in the new location, my second Amy MacDonald concert. I am very curious how the concert in the sold out Samsung Hall is going to come across and sounding like. First impression is good so far.
Support Newton Faulkner
British musician Newton Faulkener is kicking off the evening. “Dies ist ein Lied” he’s grinning impishly with his few words of German and starts with the first song. As a little joke he repeats this later 1-2 times. Quickly I notice his two marks: On the one side his special way of guitar playing with a kind of picking and tapping, making his songs immediately sounding like a lot more than he actually plays. On the other side his hair is put together in dreadlocks. All alone with an accoustic guitar, some kind of foot drum pedal and obviously some kind of floor piano, he quickly thrills the very attentive audience with rather quite, but very rhythmic songs. “You are well behaved”, he notices. Whether we would mind him to play a still unfinished song? He also encourages the cheering audience to clap along.
Even if you might never have heard about Newton Faulker before, in UK he celebrated several successes and has performed at quite some big festivals. He’s already been support act of James Morrison, Paolo Nutini and John Mayer. In 2007 he has released his first album and is writing now on his sixth. This new, sixth album can already be preordered, even it’s not finished yet.
He knows how to entertain his audience. Next to his own finished and unfinished songs, he says goodbye after a 30min performance with his “partysong”: A really great cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” [here you can find a version of his „T in the Park“ performance]. In September he wants to come back to Switzerland again. I recommend going and seeing him.
Like little stars the bulbs are hanging from the ceiling while Amy MacDonald with her five member band enters stage and starts the show with the new album title song “Under Stars”. I definitely have found a new favourite song. They continue speedily with her songs “Don’t tell me it’s over” and “Spark”. With her warm, very distinct and strong voice in combination with the stomping, catchy pop/folk melodies, she immediately electrifies her audience. The evening in the sold out Samsung Hall shall become a party, especially as guitarist Sam celebrates his 40th birthday, as she reveals towards the end of the concert during the introduction of the band members. The audience starts a birthday song, though it rather ends in a chaotic canon. But before, the singing along works very quickly very well.
The Scot plays a speedy, catchy setlist in a mix of very new and many older titles, peppered with some quite accoustic versions and wonderful ballads. Among them are noticeably many pieces from her debut album, a big part of the audience already knows by heart. Did you realize, how many songs of her you actually know just from the radio? As soon as the first tunes of “Mr Rock’n’Roll” sound, exciting cheers go through the hall and the atmosphere gets a little more lively. What even rises with “Dream on”.
Like Newton Faulkner before, even Amy notices how quiet and attentive the audience is on this evening. Although she knows that Swiss can be a lot louder. Of course she tests this with a small singing competition between the audience in front of the stage and the “posh” concert visitors up on the balcony seats. So they have to sing along to “Slow it down” all by themselves, what sounds surprisingly loud. Has the audience been a little reluctant before, this sure breaks the ice.
“4th of July” and “Pride” follow as acoustic versions to slow everything down for a moment. Inbetween the songs Amy tells a lot about what she experiences, what moves and inspires her. Topics are unloved video shootings and tv series. So she doesn’t like shootings and esp. not video shootings. Although a music video’s only 3 mins long, such a video shooting often takes far longer than a day. Only today’s published video for her new single “Automatic” [watch it here] had to be done within four hours because of the upcoming tour. So her management would only let her make short videos in the future, she explains, she asked her fans to comment extra positive ratings. She’s sure she’d win an Oscar, she jokes.
The new title “The rise & fall” was inspired through one of her favourite things, the TV. When touring there’s often not much more to do than watching TV series for hours. So she gushes about Kevin Spacey’s actor skills in her favourite series “House of cards”. Because of it the new song was made. And even she keeps extra exaggerative boasting, but not meaning it too seriously, about her own skills and songs, the petite woman with the many tattoos seems super likable and down to earth – just like her music.
Amy loves her audience to sing and clap along as well as swinging arms, so she makes them do so for “This is life” again. Sometimes her band mates do the animation part. Flowingly the song goes over into the wonderful, only by keys accompanied “Never too late”, before she already gets to the last title with “Life in a beautiful light”. Of course she doesn’t leave without an encore. “Where do all the posh people go?”, she asks when she returns on stage all alone, some already leaving the hall early. Without band she plays an impressive acoustic version of “Prepare to fall”, before the band joins her again for the new “Down by the water”. With “Let’s start a band” as a third encore she bows out for good then.
A wonderful concert, that sounded great in the new Samsung Hall. Not mattering whether you were in the front or back of the audience. For her new album “Under Stars” Amy counts on her proven formula for success. Who hasn’t heard her new songs yet or just wants to hear them again, already gets the opportunity this summer.
Amy MacDonald is going to play in Switzerland at two of the most beautiful summer festivals
Stars Of Sounds, Murten
Tickets at Ticketcorner
Moon & Stars, Locarno
Tickets at Ticketcorner