There will never be anything as beautiful as someone who has seen the dark bringing the light with their music. And that’s exactly what happened when Amigo the Devil graced Manchester with his amicably macabre approach to Folk.
Within the realms of Dark Folk, you’ll find plenty of dark and twisted lyricism. But Amigo the Devil (Danny Kiranos) goes beyond that. He digs up the storytelling roots of the genre and exposes the complexity of 21st-century sentience with the addition of humour which will touch even the staunchest of existentialists.
I hadn’t quite anticipated how emotional a live set would be. Yes, you can practically hear each drop as his soul pours out through his lyrics on his records. But seeing the stinging conviction behind each word amplified their veracious meaning in a way I could never have anticipated. Yet, every time I was moved to tears, I was forcibly shifted back to laughter with his quick humility-soaked wit.
The words “crowd participation” usually send shivers down my spine. Yet, with Amigo the Devil, it’s almost a knee-jerk reaction to get caught up in the experience and become part of it in solidarity with his candidly expressive bravery.
Given that there’s a fairly eclectic array of instrumentals on their recorded material, I was slightly dubious how he could recreate that live armed with just an acoustic or banjo. But his inventive request for the audience to help out with foot stamping and clapping percussion was infinitely more immersive than any backing band could have been. He’d instilled unity in the room quite early on in the set by reminding us that death is one of the only commonalities which we’re certain to share, that will probably only sound depressing if you’ve never been to an Amigo the Devil Show.
It’s all too evident why a cult-like fanbase surrounds him. I think I’ve been indoctrinated, and I couldn’t be happier. If you get a chance to see him live, take it.
Review by Amelia Vandergast