Amyl and The Sniffers and Geoffrey Oi!Cott at Stylus, Leeds 29/05/22

Words and Photos by Steve White 

It’s good to see a band that are rapidly rising up the ranks to superstardom choose local bands to support them on tour. Tonight, here in the heart of Yorkshire that support comes from Geoffrey Oi!Cott, a band that most, possibly all, who know anything about the Yorkshire punk scene will have heard of.

Taking their name from that of the former England/Yorkshire cricketer, dressed in cricket whites, with a set of wickets on display and a cricket bat being waved around for those who have never witnessed them before it’s easy to see, and hear, where their priorities lie. Cricket, beer and Yorkshire, Geoffrey Oi!Cott deliver a fantastic set of songs that bring punk, Oi!, hardcore rock n roll full of double entendres, comedic sporting references and social commentary to a crowd that has piled into the venue to watch them. Whilst the band don’t take themselves too seriously they are punk to the core and deliver a set well appreciated by those sensible enough to arrive early for tonight’s proceedings.

It’s little surprise that Amyl and The Sniffers are gaining fans rapidly, their gigs selling out quickly as their continuing rise to stardom sees them playing bigger and bigger venues, festivals and stadium slots with the likes of Green Day. 2021 album Comfort To Me saw them fully embraced by punks and fans of heavy rock/metal across the whole range of ages, a fact mirrored in tonight’s packed venue that sees a mix of people from those old enough to have witnessed the first wave of punk stood amongst music loving young teens who have persuaded their parents to bring them along and every age group between the two. The fact that music nowadays, in particular anything with a close link to punk, has broken down so many barriers and is now not solely the preserve of youngsters is to be celebrated but tonight’s crowd does show how far Amyl and The Sniffers have come since their gritty, raw 2016/2017 self-released EP’s Giddy Up and Big Attraction, especially considering the events of the last few years.

By the time the headliners walk on stage the place is rammed, the atmosphere electric with an almost tangible sense that things are about to explode. Amy Taylor, “Fuck You, You Fuckin’ Fuck” emblazoned across her black t-shirt, greets the crowd and from this moment on complete mayhem takes over, both onstage and off. Opening with the slicing guitars and breakneck speed of Control there’s fists pumping the air, bodies bouncing, a seething mass of people down the front. And from those opening notes there isn’t a single second where things calm down. Control rolls into the driving force and superb guitar riffs from Dec Martens that form the backbone of Shake Ya, Taylor pounds the stage yelling out lyrics, never still, eyeballing the crowd, tongue out, grinning, head banging, standing on monitors as she carries the crowd along on a wave of completely manic energy.

Freaks To The Front sees her in the pit, amongst security and photographers, egging the crowd on, a diminutive figure that oozes energy and completely dominates not only the space around her but the whole place. “Fuck You” indeed. Amy Taylor will do things her way and there’s not a thing will stop her. Yet despite the force of nature leaping around the stage Amyl and The Sniffers are clearly a band working together and it’s the combination of pummelling drums courtesy of Bryce Wilson, the rumbling bass riffs from Fergus Romer and the wall of sound produced by the guitar of Martens that combine to deliver the thunderous racket underpinning Taylors vocals and make everything work as a whole.

The hammer force of Gacked On Anger is only the fourth song to be played yet security are already passing water to the mass of people crushed together in the mosh pit. There’s no aggression amongst the crowd, just an uncontrolled sea of smiling faces all running with sweat. Guided By Angels sees the biggest, but not the only, singalong. With nine of the sixteen song set taken from Comfort To Me it’s clear Amyl and The Sniffers are here to not only promote what is a fantastic album but also to make sure even the most recent converts will leave having known almost every song. They don’t only rely on their most recent material though. I’m Not A Loser and the raw rock of Balaclava Lover Boogie are drawn from 2017’s Big Attraction whilst Control, Shake Ya, Gacked On Anger and Got You from their self-titled debut full length all feature in the first half. But it is the sheer power of more recent songs such as Capital, Security, Don’t Need a Cunt (Like You To Love Me) and the only slightly less frantic Knifey that bring the most enthusiastic responses from the crowd. They close with Some Mutts (Can’t Be Muzzled) and by the end of this you realise completely that you’ve witnessed something special. A band and crowd that feed off each other.

Amy Taylor’s attitude and energy feeding the passion and response from the crowd which in turn encourages the band to deliver even more. It’s all over in less than 60 minutes, an explosive, passionate, almost unstoppable force that has left both band and audience completely drained. I doubt either could have carried on much longer.


Philip Goddard

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