[CONCERT REVIEW] The Horrors Rock, Show Mature Side At UK’s McClusky’s

[CONCERT REVIEW] The Horrors Rock, Show Mature Side At UK’s McClusky’s

[CONCERT REVIEW] The Horrors Rock, Show Mature Side At UK’s McClusky’s

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[CONCERT REVIEW] The Horrors Rock, Show Mature Side At UK's McClusky's

Maturing in the spotlight must be an odd experience, and for the past five or so years that is exactly what The Horrors have done. The shift from garage-rock to their current incarnation, which merges new wave, psychedelia and shoe-gaze, has been nothing short of remarkable. A band, once derided by much of the music press as being ‘style over substance’, The Horrors are now one of the most revered British Indie bands. And upon the release of their excellent fourth record, Luminous, the band played a triumphant set (07/05/2014) at the intimate club venue McClusky’s in Kingston-Upon-Thames, London, UK.
 
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Interestingly, not only have The Horrors matured as band, with their influences and approach to composition but they have also matured as performers. The band playing their first UK date in support of Luminous (bar an appearance at BBC Radio 6 Festival) are now tighter and more focused. Lead-singer Faris Badwan, who in the early incarnation of The Horrors was known for his infamous on-stage antics and demonic presence, seemed more reserved than ever before on stage. The usual scream that accompanies the end of ‘Who Can Say’ was missing, and only in set-closer ‘Moving Further Away’ was the first real yelp heard – more a guttural scream in fact. But Badwan still remains an alluring frontman – one who, last night, personified the new found focus and intensity with which the band played.

Opening with three cuts from their 2009 sophomore record Primary Colours, it was not until 15-20 minutes into the show that we got the first taste of live material from Luminous. The opening trio of, ‘Sea Within A Sea’, ‘Who Can Say’ and ‘Scarlet Fields’ were all met with loud cheers and sing-a-long, but it was ‘In and Out of Sight’ that offered the first glimpse of where The Horrors are going as a live band, and what touring Luminous may do to their status within Britain and worldwide. With its funky bass groove, the song built to an arousing climax, in a similar vein to the coda of following track ‘I See You’. Both, not only showcased the gleaming synths featured throughout Luminous, but highlighted an idea that the band are potentially reaching for something greater, and pushing the limits of their songs. Second single ‘Now You Know’ exemplified this further, with its near-stadium like chorus, which had the crowd arms aloft, shouting back the lyrics. It is arguably the most ‘pop’ song The Horrors have made, and one, which will surely be a firm favorite at festivals over the summer. ‘Endless Blue’ from third album Skying got a well-received outing, and ‘Still life’ another track built to be sung by thousands in a field closed the main set. After a short break in proceedings, a one-song encore of ‘Moving Further Away’ was performed. The track, extended from its album form, saw guitarist Josh shredding through a mid-section, before synth arpeggios gave brief respite in preparation to the brutal closing riff, which made the track a stand-out of Skying.
 

 

If there was one criticism from the show, it was that the songs chosen from Luminous expose a potentially formulaic approach at times. Many of the new tracks performed all build to a climax in a similar fashion. This approach over longer sets may lose its novelty and impact, but only time will tell.

The Horrors recently stated in an interview that they as a band were unwilling to compromise musically for the sake of headlining festivals. Luminous, I feel, sees the band aiming for bigger things and bigger places, but on their own terms. Badwan, midway through the show made passing reference to a UK tour at the end of the year. And on the evidence of last night’s performance, and with the reaction of the audience to the new material, The Horrors better get used to thousands singing back at them – and deservedly so.

The Horrors setlist:

Sea Within A Sea
Who Can Say
Scarlet Fields
In and Out of Sight
I See You
Endless Blue
Falling Star
Mirror’s Image
So Now You Know
Still Life

Encore:
Moving Further Away
 

America! The Horrors are coming to the states. Check out the tour dates below:

05-10 London, England – 100 Club
06-06 Badajoz, Spain – Contempopranea Festival
06-08 London, England – Field Day
06-15 Newport, England – Isle of Wight Festival
06-22 Hilvarenbeek, Netherlands – Best Kept Secret
07-11 Liege, Belgium – Les Ardentes
07-14 Bologna, Italy – Unaltrofestival
07-15 Milan, Italy – Unaltrofestival
07-19 London, England – Lovebox Festival
07-25 San Sebastian, Spain – Heineken Jazzaldia
08-09 Helsinki, Finland – Flow Festival
08-22 Leeds, England – Leeds Festival
08-24 Reading, England – Reading Festival
08-30 Dorset, England – End of the Road Festival
10-13 San Diego, CA – Belly Up *
10-14 Santa Ana, CA – The Observatory *
10-15 Los Angeles, CA – Mayan Theatre *
10-16 San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore *
10-18 Seattle, WA – The Neptune *
10-19 Vancouver, British Columbia – Rickshaw *
10-20 Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theatre *
10-22 Salt Lake City, UT – Bar Deluxe *
10-23 Boulder, CO – Fox Theatre *
10-24 Omaha, NE – Waiting Room *
10-25 Minneapolis, MN – Fine Line *
10-27 Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall *
10-28 Detroit, MI – Magic Stick *
10-30 Toronto, Ontario – Opera House *
10-31 Montreal, Quebec – Corona Theatre
11-01 Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club *
11-02 Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer *
11-04 New York City, NY – Stage 48 *
11-05 Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg *
11-06 Washington, DC – Black Cat *
11-07 Asheville, NC – Orange Peel
11-08 Atlanta, GA – The Variety Playhouse *
11-10 Houston, TX – Fitzgerald’s *
11-11 Dallas, TX – The Cambridge Room at HOB *
11-12 Austin, TX – The Parish *

* with Moon Duo

Written by: Saam Idelji-Tehrani

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Saam Idelji Like Tom from 500 Days of Summer, I spent a lot of my youth listening to sad British pop music, and now, I write as a UK Contributor for The Sights and Sounds about the music I love (be it melancholic or not). Also a medical student in South London. Favourite album: Kraftwerk - Trans Europe Express