The Horrors Live!

Published on October 10th, 2009 by

It’s hard to believe every bit of hype you hear about bands these days.  All these crazy blogs are dripping with overblown statements about how great the band du jour is – you can’t always believe what you read.  I was just as cautious upon entering Neumo’s in Seattle last night to see The Horrors.  Primary Colours is definitely one of the best albums of the year, but could they pull it off live?  I am thrilled to say that they did just that!

The band played the ultimate U.S. set which besides the encore was the entirety of Primary Colours.  This was a wise move, especially in Seattle where club goers are pickier than Madonna choosing her backstage rider.  They saved the surprises for their encore which included a cover of  Suicide’s “Ghostrider” and fan favorite, “Sheena Is A Parasite”.  Their brand new song  “Whole New Way”, was strangely absent from the set – kind of a bummer because that song is amazing!

Throughout, each song was given a slightly different treatment than the LP versions.  The opener, “Mirror’s Image” was the deal breaker for me.  I was pleasantly surprised at how great the guitar sounded; that reverse reverb trick which is a signature sound of My Bloody Valentine has to be done just right to sound great live.  My complaint that the sound wasn’t loud enough early on was rectified by the end of the show.  The highlight of the show for me was “Scarlet Fields”.  It sounded strangely quiet, as if something was missing.  The keyboard melody which is similar to that of “Who Can Say” was either absent or really buried in the mix.  However, it was replaced with a cool bouncy synth effect similar to “Windows” by Missing Persons or “Open Your Heart” from the Human League.

Some of the slower numbers which kind of meander on the recorded versions had an explosive quality to them live, especially “New Ice Age” which was authentic, intense and downright scary.

The Horrors are part of a recent resurgence of bands who seem to replicating the sounds of the past rather than create something fresh and new.  To be honest, I kind of think The Horrors sound a bit like The Chameleons the same way Interpol sound like Joy Division.  Judging from their new outlook on the recording process and their amazing live performance, they have it in them to bring something original to the current joke that is pop music.  I hope they can do it.  I also hope they eat something soon, my goodness those boys are thin!

[Check out the full Horrors Live! photoset on Flickr]
[flickr album=72157622516495802 num=5 size=Square]

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