Andy Martin's got the flair of a real rockstar. He plays the type of music that's just made for the live stage; it's fast and furious, with driving guitars, soaring vocals and memorable choruses that will get the whole venue jumping and dancing along.
Unfortunately in today's climate there's not a whole lot of room for the whole dancing and mosh pits thing. This gig was a sit-down affair, with any overzealous fans being quickly ushered by security back to their tables - a damper on the whole rock show vibe but nothing we're not used to by now. It's a welcome return to the stage nonetheless for Andy and his band, playing their first show in 11 months. And it was probably a first live gig in just as long for much of the audience at Woolly Mammoth in Fortitude Valley, or 'The Valley' as it's affectionately known by locals, Brisbane's home of live music and nightlife.
The night was just getting started as the crowd packed in to the small upstairs venue at the 'Mane' Stage. This was the second performance of the night, following on from the earlier show where Andy's band and their support acts had already broke in the stage with their sets. But the late show was the big one, with a sold-out crowd keenly anticipating what was in store for the night ahead.
Far North Queensland duo The Bluebottles kicked us off with a very lively 25-minute set comprised of mostly new original material, with a couple of crowd pleasing covers sprinkled in the mix. The audience had to resist the urge to get up and dance to modern classics like Franz Ferdinand's 'Take Me Out' and Arctic Monkeys' 'I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor', but there was nothing stopping them from belting out the lyrics along with lead vocalist Connor Wright. Everyone was getting around their original songs too, especially when they closed their set with their massive debut single 'Overheated', the place was rocking; it was a great way to set the stage for the rest of the night.
NSK were up next, turning down the tempo a bit but still producing a high quality set. This created a more relaxed vibe amongst the audience as they bopped their heads to the funky energy of the Brisbane five-piece's jazz-tinged indie rock sounds. Vocalist Peter Scott's delivery was especially charismatic, while the rest of the band provided some great rhythms and a couple of flashy guitar leads. It was another fairly brief set, but they packed it with a bunch of original tunes as they warmed up the stage for the main event.
As Andy and his band stepped up to play the Mane Stage roared to life, as if the Woolly Mammoth itself was right there in the crowd. Andy and the band jumped straight into the action with 'Heat Of It All', the titular track from his upcoming EP Living In The Heat Of It All. He'd mentioned in a quick chat just before the show that this song was his favourite to play, and you could tell he was enjoying it up there on the stage. He delivered every single lyric passionately, and spoke multiple times of his gratitude for the fans and his backing band, consisting of Jordan Brodie, Hamish Litster and Michael Hunter. The band was on point, but as expected, it was Andy who stole the show with his brilliant vocals and guitar leads.
Throughout the set he debuted the rest of the material from Living In The Heat Of It All, including two unreleased songs that we most likely won't get to hear again until the EP's release on 6 November. He showed us his versatility on the ballad 'Just Tell Me', a song whose studio version features talented singer Bianca Power. Modifying the song and singing her parts as well due to her absence, Andy proved he could carry the track on his own. If you'd have asked anyone, they most likely wouldn't have guessed that the song was supposed to be a duet if he hadn't told us beforehand. He slowed down the tempo again a bit later in the set with the second unreleased song 'Time', which has a groovier instrumental that really allowed his vocals to shine through.
The freshly released 'My Hearts Not Beating in Time' and the anthemic 'Let This Go Again', other singles from the EP, also featured in the setlist, before the show finished strongly with 'Mess We Made'. Andy really saved the best for last with this one. The crowd was rocking and singing along as he belted out the song's irresistible chorus, before drawing it out for a sweet finale. It was a bit bittersweet though, as 'awhs' filled the room with the crowd craving more Andy Martin.
If this show is anything to go by, don't be surprised to see Andy Martin selling out shows across the country in the near future. He has a strong and loyal fanbase in his home of Queensland at the moment, but it's only a matter of time before the rest of the nation starts catching on to this talented young artist.
Living In The Heat Of It All EP is out 6 November - stay tuned for our premiere.
Andy Martin 'Living in the Heat of it All' Tour 2020
Friday, 23 October
Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane
Friday, 6 November
The Lass, Newcastle
Saturday, 7 November
Frankie's Pizza, Sydney
Friday, 13 November
BBQ Bazaar, Burleigh