Live Review: Amber Run at KOKO

The indie rock heroes Amber Run have always been part of the special ones, the ones that like to dig that little bit deeper than anyone else around them. Celebrating the release of their fourth full-length record ‘How To Be Human’, which sees the group journey through emotional turmoil and lay their vulnerabilities bare in front of us once more, the trio has been hitting the stages all across the country on their latest tour. One of those many halts also had them recently touch down in London’s glitzy KOKO, which had the band exceed all expectations and people‘s hearts beat faster yet again.

Ever since music has existed, lyrics, melodies, and songwriting have been tools for artists to process and shine a light on their emotions, whether they are good or bad. To nobody’s surprise, music has, for so many, become this big part of their lives that lets them connect to others and helps them deal with any hardships they might be going through – or simply celebrate the act of being alive and happy. That is exactly what Amber Run set out to do when they walked on stage to their roaring fanbase which they had last seen for their sold-out acoustic set at Union Chapel almost a year before. With support acts Michael Blackwell and Myles Smith (whose performance had been heart-warmingly watched by Amber Run’s lead singer Joe Keogh from the side of the stage) having already set just the right tone and hyped up the crowd, the evening started off with a bang as the Nottingham-bred band jumped into the explosive ‘The Beautiful Victorious’. 

Throughout the show, the group – made up of vocalist Joshua “Joe” Keogh, bass guitarist Tom Sperring and Henry Wyeth on the keyboard – seamlessly jumped between older favourites and newer hits and went on a walk down memory lane of their four albums together with their excited audience. While tracks like ‘Honeylight’, ‘Hurt’ and ‘Carousel’ brought more rock-inspired moments to the set and had the whole room buzzing from top to bottom, more sombre songs like ‘5AM’, ‘Wastelands’ and the title-giving ‘How To Be Human’ stirred the captivated crowd and added yet more loops to the already emotional-heavy rollercoaster ride the set had turned into.

From the first note to the last plugged guitar string, the three friends bounced off each other’s energy and kept the overall production at a constant flawless high. Specifically, the most heartfelt ballads ‘Amen’ and ‘Last Dance’ highlighted singer Keogh’s heavenly vocals and exposed the raw emotions buried in Amber Run’s lyricisms, while popular tracks like ‘What Be as Lonely as Love’ and ‘Noah’ showcased the incredible talents shared between the bandmembers as not only highly-skilled instrumentalists but also vocalists, as they turned their audience into a harmonising choir.

Ending the night with their immensely beloved anthems ‘I Found’ and ‘Spark’, the three-piece managed to unite the venue filled with strangers and let everyone experience music in the exact way it was always intended to. Walking off to ecstatic waves of applause that lasted long after the group had left the stage (and the promise to meet fans after the show, which is rare for a band of their size), Amber Run’s takeover of London’s KOKO was yet again a concert for the books and we can only hope to see them return to the city in the nearest of futures to be part of their unique soundscape once again.

Written by Laura Weingrill // photography by Sam Nahirny & Garry Jones


  1. Ivis Chinchilla

    I loved this review! It perfectly captured how amazing this show was and what a performance Amber Run put on. They really captured my heart in a renewed way after this and especially because I had the chance to meet Joe and Henry after the show. I loved sharing with them how I traveled from Boston to come and see them as I did last year at Union Chapel. Can’t wait for their next shows!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Laura

      Thanks so much for your lovely comment, we’re so glad to hear you enjoyed the review. And we absolutely agree, Amber Run are truly part of the special ones. 🙂


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