Ian Prowse and Amsterdam's Annual Year End Extravaganza at 02 Academy, Liverpool Saturday 9th December 2023






A very special one tonight! At the 02 Academy in the city of sound itself, Liverpool. In gale force winds and driving rain, amidst disruption to rail services, Christmas traffic and bustling crowds, we’ve happily ventured out regardless, as tonight it’s the yearly homecoming and end of year showdown from the wonderful Ian Prowse and Amsterdam. This promises to be a real extravaganza of Celtic folk rock with a true Liverpudlian soul. Arriving early to grab a warm up drink pre gig in a nearby pub, the feels are already building. It’s buzzing in here, an incredible smell of ‘Scouse’ filtering through the air, framed photos adorn the walls of iconic Scouse legends (Doddy, Cilla etc) and the sound of laughter and excited banter with an abundance of Pele T-shirts. Prowsey’s gang are out in force! Chatting to people here, I learn that many have travelled from all over to come to this now well known and eagerly anticipated event. The bonus within this early musical Christmas present is in the form of the magnificent support, we have the Men they Couldn’t Hang and Ronan McManus, so one utterly spectacular folk event truly is on the cards!

Ronan MacManus

So a fair few people are already here, and armed with drinks we’re ready for this now! Starting off tonight’s vibrant festivities is a solo and electric guitar set from London based Ronan MacManus. Arriving on stage to very enthusiastic applause, the set begins and is instantly breathtaking. The vocal is incredible, filled with character and conveys real emotion. It’s a very genuine and heartfelt delivery. Ronan as a performer is very likeable and easy to watch. His voice is depth filled, earthy with a wonderful gravel tone and huskiness. Folk rock feels with maybe a slight country tinge and as a crowd we’re all swaying along and drinking in this heady mixture of creativity and sounds. Tonight’s tone has been well and truly set now, and the atmosphere is one of celebration and anticipation. A totally captivating set that flew by! Thank you so much Ronan MacManus.

Set List:

Dockside Lullabies

Love you if you let me

Blood & Rain

Nothing matters when you’re young

Guns to the politicians

Human Kindness

Money goes to Money



The Men they Couldn’t Hang

Phil “Swill” Odgers – lead vocal/guitar

Paul Simmonds – guitar/vocals

Bobby Valentino – violin/backing vocals

Next up we have the legendary folk/punk band, the Men they Couldn’t Hang, providing us tonight with a 3 piece acoustic/folk set. And what a delightful musical treat this is! A much slower, lighter pace than usual, beautifully executed. Lilting melodic feeling, then joyous and uplifting Celtic type feel good! A very upbeat, happy making and dance inducing set. From gentle fireside feels to sing along knees up that everyone’s invited to type feels. A real sense of atmosphere is conjured up, the eerie sound of violin mixed with the powerful strumming of guitars. Vocal ranges from soft yet throaty and melodic to louder, more intense, and then the odd punk style cries which really build on that atmosphere. A real rip roaring set which immerses us completely in an ambience with what feels like a symphony of sound. One cracking set! my mission is to now see a full band performance of the Men they Couldn’t Hang!

Set List:

Going Back To Coventry

Ghosts Of Cable Street

Our Day


The Bells

A Night To Remember

Island In The Rain

Walkin’ Talkin’

Iron Masters

The Greenfields Of France

(also joined Ian Prowse to duet on Rainy Night In Soho)



Ian Prowse and Amsterdam – headline

So now comes the set we’ve all been anticipating. In a darkened 02 Academy, the haunting, Celtic sounds of flute gently float towards us, then as the band take their places on stage, to earth shattering applause, our headline set begins. It’s spell binding, a magical musical tapestry of sounds – each instrument bringing its own feels to this intricate and wonderful performance. The joyous skipping pace set by the drums, the melodic bass lines, the definition of the lead guitar, the strumming of acoustic guitar, with strings, a horn section and flute/whistle and keys/piano; it’s a semi orchestral sound, rich, warm and wholesome and suits the songs perfectly. Feels are happy, celebratory, like some shindig of epic scale. Energy on stage is nonstop and the interaction between band members is a joy to watch. It’s infectious, transcending! As a crowd we feel it and feed from it. There is now dancing, singing, clapping and a sea of smiling faces; that good old Scouse hospitality is in full swing here tonight. Band members dance about on stage giving their all, filling it with presence. Violinists are down on their knees, Ian jumps and bounces about and the keyboardist is so highly charged he clearly is having the best time up there! Sound is completely on point, it’s all excellently performed and this scene before us up there, well we just can’t turn away for a second as it envelopes us in its musical embrace. Then we are introduced to ‘Mikey’. Let me just say EVERY gig needs a Mikey; like a dancing genius, his nonstop moves and enthusiasm have us all fascinated! As well as frivolity, we have real touching moments, a very moving tribute to Shane MacGowan, in a duet with Swill (Phil Odgers) from the Men they Couldn’t Hang, a performance of the Pogues’ ‘Rainy night in Soho’ and another stunning duet with Shannon Peterson of ‘I did it for love’.

It’s been a glittering night full of vibrancy, atmosphere and musical exuberance. It’s easy to see the love this crowd have for “Prowsey” and Amsterdam and that love is clearly reciprocated. What a touching, genuine and good old fashioned fun event this has been! Finishing with confetti fired over the crowd and the stage filling with crew and family dancing – now that’s how you round the year off and a real party Mersey style! Ending with a very emotional ‘Does this Train stop at Merseyside’ where Ian asks the crowd to “come on help us out here”. It’s a truly heartfelt performance of a very touching song. Our final song and farewell for tonight ‘Leaving of Liverpool’ and our magical extravaganza is over, to the sound of utterly rapturous applause. What a completely dazzling, compelling and accomplished headline set! This annual party is a must go to for live music fans, the sheer joy it creates is second to none! But don’t take my word for it; you honestly have to experience this for yourself! So “see yous next year La.”

A final shout out to the lovely group we met at the barrier – Denise, Kath, Jo, Janice and Rachael.



Set List:

Holy Holy River


Glorious Day

Love Phenomenon


Oh Lord

Ballad of North John Street

Dessie Warren


American Wake

Taking on the World

In the Beginning

Name and Number

Rainy Night in Soho



I did it for Love

Raid the Palace

Twist and Shout

Fair Blows

Does this Train stop on Merseyside

Leaving of Liverpool