From '70s classic rock to '90s hip-hop
“It’s rough, raw and anything can happen.” So Amyl and the Sniffers frontwoman Amy Taylor told NME during the Aussie punk band’s NME Big Read earlier this year. Well, she wasn’t fibbing. The band’s mid-afternoon Glastonbury 2019 set, held in the baking hot Williams Green tent today, is the best this writer has ever seen them. Taylor shadow-boxes through the set while her sniffers – including mulleted guitarist Dec Martens, who sports a black t-shirt depicting Tony Scarface – pummel through tracks from their stellar, recently released debut album.
‘Got You’, played early in this set, is faster and more full-bodied than on record, a point of difference that sets the tone this afternoon. Taylor, ever the star, sticks her tongue out cartoonishly as she waves her arms up the ceiling, gesturing for the crowd to clap along. She elongates the line, “I don’t need anybody else,” turning it into a sing-song, ironically emphasising its romantic implications. Today’s show is about anything but romance. It’s about being – well – rough, raw and unpredictable. “Get rowdy – get rowdy!”, she yells at the audience. “Are ya fuckin’ scared?”
Honestly? A little bit. “Gacked On Anger”, a brutally honesty – yet somehow still fizzing good fun – missive from the front lines of being perpetually skint, is delivered with ferocious invective, though Taylor retains a spring in her step. “I wanna help out the people on the street / But how can I help them when I can’t afford to eat?,” she snarls, before she begins to spin around and pogo on the spot to ‘Control’, on which she admits, “I like control / I’m obsessed / It’s the reason I exist”. Yet, for all the bravado and give-a-fuck attitude, she confesses to being impressed by the enormous response her band receives when she straight-up tells the audience: “Thanks for watching us.”
Closer ‘Some Mutts (Can’t Be Muzzled)’ receives a hero’s welcome, the crowd a chorus of handclaps. Amyl and The Sniffer’s let its wiry, Thin Lizzy-style opening riff play out, emphasising the fact that, although often billed as a punk band, they’re almost equally inspired by classic ‘70s rock. Fabulously, though, they also batter through 30 seconds of ‘I Don’t Give A Fuck’, the 1993 gangsta rap track from California rapper Bo$$. By the time Taylor crowdsurfs through the tent, it’s clear Amyl’s influences are eclectic but always rough and raw.