Entertainment, Manchester

Review: Amp Fiddler at Band on the Wall Manchester

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By Lewis Eyles
Film & Photography: Ryan McNulty

Band on The Wall offered the opportunity to catch Detroit’s finest multi-instrumentalist, Amp Fiddler, last Tuesday, also known as Joseph Anthony Fiddler. It’s not been long since Amp Fiddler stepped into the Northern Powerhouse, but this didn’t sap any of his innate, soulful energy from exuberating throughout his performance. Before starting, Fiddler addressed the crowd, drawing parallels with Manchester, and that of his own home, Detroit. Both industrial cities love a good four to the floor party, and that is exactly what he had up his diamond-encrusted sleeves. The fact he had no band supporting him on the night failed to hold back our Fiddler, who instead used an assortment of Roland synthesizers, a Serato DJ deck, a laptop and his own voice, to navigate through a host of material from his latest album: Motor City Booty.

Right from the offset, Fiddler sprang into life with classic hits like Right Where You Are, which moved the evening’s mood away from the smouldering embers left by Vibrant P’s soulful crooning in the warm up, to something a bit funkier. As he played through his set, Fiddler rarely broke up the set between songs to share anecdotes, or get the crowd to shout their enjoyment. The performance was all thrills, no frills, with the focus strictly on rhythm, beats and euphoria, with the groove keeping the crowd perpetually stepping all night.

Despite being in the game with Funkadelic since the 80’s, Fiddler consistently hit every note he was tasked with, from high-pitch shrieks to low-end snarls, he showed that even at the age of fifty-two, you can still blow a crowd away. Fiddler played unabashed for nearly two hours, providing invigorating disco and house flavours to old jazz classics like Gregory Porter’s 1960 What?, providing those in the know with a cheery sing-a-long. Other memorable tracks include his 2004 collaboration with Moodymann, I’m Doin Fine, which he serenaded over beautifully, in one of the sets calmer moments.

The lights on the disco ball reflected around the room, just like the happiness of the music permeated from the crowd, as Amp Fiddler came up to the climactic moment of his Parliament-fused set. Just as it seemed that he had finally ran out of songs from his incredible discography, the instantly recognizable, wonky synth line of Steppin ft. Dames Brown kicked in, and the crowd were moving once again. At this moment, Fiddler came out from behind his equipment to greet the crowd, shake hands and have a boogie, which was met with rapturous applause. Amp Fiddler proves once again, that you don’t need a full live band behind you to put on a memorable show, all you need is a bit of that Detroit soul!

You can view the rest of Band on the Wall’s upcoming events here.

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Lewis Eyles

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