REVIEW: Amsterdam and Robberie at The Greystones, Sheffield

PASSION, politics and raucous tunes that unify different generations. That’s the power of Ian Prowse and Amsterdam.

First up at the Greystones though are Sheffield three-piece Robberie, whose bitter-sweet songs of the vagaries of modern life, sprinkled with a dash of folky spice, circle that part of pop’s spectrum inhabited by Belle and Sebastian and St Etienne.

Great lyrics, a good ear for a tune, a number about lower league footballers (Journeyman) and the rarity of a glockenspiel driving the songs mean Val, Nik and Robin spread some welcome early evening warmth throughout the room.

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Kathleen is 76-years-old and she’s here with her son and grandson because she’s been a fan of Ian Prowse from his days in Pele, through Amsterdam and his solo albums.

Prowse’s music does that. It brings people together and he rightly tells the crowd not to vote for any of the racists, “not that any of you beautiful people would do that”, in the forthcoming election. He’s been on the case of the corrupt, the royals and the right wing since the beginning and it’s hard to believe there are too many in this excellent venue who need converting.

Amsterdam are a tight, energetic six-piece tonight, knitting together the raw power of Springsteen with the beauty and aggression of Dexy’s, much of the latter part undoubtedly due to the unbridled energy of Laura McKinlay’s violin playing.

This is enthusiastic, engaging, principled blue-collar music that lifts the spirits even if its subject matter is not always too cheerful and Amsterdam give it their all throughout a two-hour stint that spans Prowse’s top tune-packed but hit-free career from early songs such as Raid The Palace, Fat Black Heart and Fireworks through the Celtic folk-rock of Home to songs from recent album Here I Lie, such as the incredible Ballad of North John Street and Something’s Changed. No-one leaves feeling short-changed or disappointed. How could they?

It’s a fair walk from the city centre to The Greystones — yes, we could have got the bus — but Amsterdam were more than worth the effort.


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