Nottingham Rock City


Emp!re have caused quite the stir this year – and rightly so, as the independent warriors have brandished their hair-raising sound like a party trick that even Kim Kardashian and her champagne popping buttocks couldn’t better. It’s hardly been an overnight success story, but once you’ve experienced the technical prowess and vocal capacity of their recordings, the prospect of seeing this band on stage is nothing but extraordinarily exciting.

Before a word is uttered by their ever so casual front man, Joe Green, the band break into a ferocious rendition of “Black Hearts”, which greets an unfortunately small audience with a stadium worthy opening to the evening. The breath-taking power and flawless pitch of Green’s vocal explosion in the chorus to this first offering is beyond comprehension, setting him up nicely to deliver a virtually note perfect display through the entire performance. Although his humourful and relaxed persona brings a gentle atmosphere to their presence, the tenacity in their performance is undoubted and is somehow matched by their extreme precision as a unit. There’s plenty to savour from this evening, as latest single “Patchwork and Bone” showcases yet another hint of the expanding potential for this outfit. However, earlier material like “Friendly Fools” and “Past, Present, Future” is also delivered in the same emphatic manner, locking their spellbound audience into submission.

Admittedly, their sound is somewhat of an acquired taste, as the price to pay for such an outrageous vocal range and powerful instrumental presence is inevitably the speed of access to the melodies they possess. Their sound requires an attentive listen, in order to break down the seamless dynamics and strenuous fusion of vocal and instrumental fluctuations. Personally, these types of bands hold their age. If a song is too easily understood, then it becomes too impersonal, but the unbelievable brilliance of this band shines through for those who are willing. Regardless of this perspective point, Emp!re are an absolute joy to behold and judging by tonight’s display, I consider them to be one of the finest live acts you’ll witness this year.


Words by George Fullerton.