New Music – Amsterdam
OK “new music” might be a bit of misnomer; rather “music you might not know already”, which judging by what Clair Chapman thinks, is a little unfair on Amsterdam.
Ian Prowse has been around a very long time, but you wouldn’t know it to meet him. He is as enthusiastic and pathologically gregarious as the day he started his journey into musicianhood.
Many people will know Ian’s music from Pele, a band not to be ignored and a force to be reckoned with during their reign in the early to mid 90s. They released 3 albums on Polydor, and even scored a chart topper in South Africa with Megalomania, just as the republic began its rise from Apartheid and FIFA welcomed the country back into international football.
His feet have always had Celtic roots, personally, musically and politically, and this informs both his music style and his lyrics. He describes his current band Amsterdam as a “seven piece rock, roll, Celtic, soul bloody racket”Â, and he’s not wrong. Formed thirteen years ago with Ian’s cousin Johnny Barlow, Amsterdam has nearly had more members than Fleetwood Mac, but musicians coming and going from the line up is almost always good natured, and you’ll often see old faces in the audience at Liverpool gigs.
Amsterdam’s best work to date is in evidence on the 2007 album Arm In Arm. On this offering, ever so briefly, Prowse lets his protest singer guard drop, and allows us into a more romantic world; one where politics still exist as sharply as before, but on this album he talks more about its effect on relationships; past, present and future.
If you’ve never heard Amsterdam before, or never been treated to one of their gigs, remember only this: you will sing, you will clap, you will stamp your feet. Grown men from the meanest districts of Merseyside have been known to be moved to tears of joy, anger, heartbreak and frustration, right there, in front of the stage. Amsterdam were Elvis Costello’s band for while, which should give you a fair indication of the quality of their musicianship.
An 18 track retrospective album has been produced of Ian’s work, spanning his career through Pele, and right up to date with Amsterdam’s best known work, alongside new songs that have been especially written and recorded for this release. It’s hard to think of it as a traditional ”Ëbest of’ compilation though, because they so very often come at the end of a musician’s career. Nonetheless, with a new daughter in tow, renewed passion for his musical and political roots and the constant ability to gig (and party) like a man twenty years his junior, Prowse is very, very much on form.
If you’re thinking of buying this album or going to one of the accompanying tour dates, do so. If you’re wondering if you’ll like Amsterdam, try this easy test: Do you like The Clash? Do you like Bruce Springsteen? Do you like The Waterboys? Do you like Dexy’s Midnight Runners? Do you like Wilson Pickett? If you have answered ”Ëyes’ to two or more of these, do yourself a big favour, and book you and your friends a ticket each to one of these shows. It will be the best present you ever gave yourself.
”Â¢ London, The Borderline – Thu 19 April
”Â¢ Bristol, Thunderbolt – Fri 20 Apr
”Â¢ Liverpool, Kazimer – Sat 21 Apr
”Â¢ Manchester, Band on the Wall – Tue 24 Apr
”Â¢ York, The Duchess – Wed 25 Apr
”Â¢ Glasgow, King Tuts – Fri 27 Apr
”Â¢ Wolverhampton, The Slade Rooms – Sat 28 Apr