“Centre of the tornado”


Amy Taylor is winning ARIAs, stealing the show at Glastonbury, collaborating with Gucci and rocking the world with her expletive-laden polemics, furious headbanging and spontaneous chaos. But for this erstwhile supermarket worker, the best thing ever? Reading books.


It’s 9.50pm on a Friday in September, 10 minutes to showtime at the Hell’s Kitchen music venue called Terminal 5, and the Manhattan punters are wired and waiting for the trademark fury of Amyl and the Sniffers to tear shit up. Inside the green room, however, the ascendant Aussie pub-punk band is in quiet repose. Ne’er-do-well mates come and go from the heavily trafficked backstage area. Bottles of Smirnoff and cans of Bud Light are necked. Chips are dipped. Smokes lit. A spliff rolled. It’s all quite convivial.

Drummer Bryce Wilson, wearing a cropped mullet, Parramatta Eels top and Western Bulldogs shorts, arrives from a bar downtown, proclaiming his sobriety. “I’m not wasted,” he protests, grinning. “I am not wasted!” Guitarist Declan Martens laughs, sipping a yerba mate tea and debating the set list, wondering whether they should play Monsoon Rock tonight or not. “We can push Security down,” he notes. “And I don’t give a f— about Westgate.” Things are always relaxed pre-show, and Taswegian bassist Gus Romer, the band’s ranga raconteur, explains why. “We don’t know anything else,” he says, shrugging. “You’re like, ‘G’day, how are ya? Cool, I gotta go do this thing now.’ ”

Conspicuous by her absence is frontwoman Amy Louise Taylor. The lead singer of this band of 20-somethings is next door in her dressing room, getting changed and applying make-up, and doing her vocal exercises. She starts by pouring three fingers of water into a glass, then blows bubbles through a straw while humming in her lowest register. Next, she blurts out a stream of onomatopoeic nonsense noises, like a scat singer – Baba-dee-baba! Bloo-didi-bomba! – to make sure her voice is coming up from her lungs, not her throat.

And then? The diminutive rock demon makes her way down through a labyrinth of concrete stairwells into the pitch blackness of stage left. The walk-on song for the show begins pumping – WAP (Wet Ass Pussy) by Cardi B, featuring Megan Thee Stallion – the stage lights drop, and out she strides in her big black boots, this girl they call a punk pixie, a likeable lunatic, a cyclone with a blonde mullet, a boxer crossed with a wood sprite, and, the heir(ess) apparent to Iggy Pop…

Click here for the full story from Good Weekend on December 3, 2022

Photography by Kristoffer Paulsen