The Horrors - The Academy
With a thick and weighty stage presence that always brings to mind the movie ‘Control’, I walked into The Academy to an already-very-much-in-progress show by The Horrors. I, apparently, was 20 minutes late - having arrived at 9 - though through lack of much further publicity about the show apart from the initial sales push, I’m still not even sure if there was a support act* or what time the bands set actually started at. Not great to be fair.
Regardless of such minor irritations, The Horrors stage show did not disappoint - in fact, it was fucking great. Though I do hope for insurances’ sake it came with a photo epilepsy warning - because the rather epic light show that accompanied would certainly have felled anyone with even the most minor malady. ‘Sea Within a Sea’ - one of my own favorites - was within the first few I caught - and had the crowd riled to a state of frenzy when the ever recognizable synth line kicked in halfway through the song. It was tight as fuck live - and could well have passed for the recorded album version - bar a nicely more evident live drum mix. Moving swiftly into ‘Still Life’ off their newest release ‘Skying’ - Faris Badwins’ idiosyncratic gesticulations were reminiscent of an old show band frontman - though granted, with much more hair and distressed leather. The band disappeared all too soon into the smog after this song - yes, I know I had just arrived). An eerily ominous, low synth sound resonated throughout the venue as the we-know-you’re-coming-back-for-an-encore purgatory went on for all of about 5 minutes before the band returned to placate the roaring crowds with two more songs.
‘Changing The Rain’ was the penultimate song in the set - and its stodgily thick drum beat opening was deliciously thudding, and made what i can only describe as bone-crunch-noise samples that sat beside it, all the more gratifying. Each member of the band is equally captivating in their performances - detachedly nonchalant, but utterly involved in the (re)creation of each song - your eyes dart from musician to musician constantly, though Badwins’ mashing the mic up against the amps antics to create some fuck-off reverberated distortion was nothing short of classic rock god antics. The finale song was ‘Moving Further Away’ and its ridiculously perfect synth line start was twinned with actual maracas to create the shake noise you can hear on the album ( why the revelation of this instrument struck me as odd somehow i don’t know ). Lost in their own personal worlds of noise, the boys closed with this absolute belter. They’re SUCH a band - and their show was worth every moment of the six month wait from ticket purchase to actuality. And I have NO fucking patience.
(Caveat : My only minor foible with the show is down to preference - with bands who’s tunes are grimy and gritty as the Horrors - I almost prefer seeing them in the slightly more ineloquent settings of a festival tent - with all its beer-cup-strewn messiness and rolling eyed puntered mayhem. But maybe that’s just me)
* (Apparently there was a support act and their name was TOY - you can listen to them here)