Buster Stonham reviews art rockers The Horrors latest gig at the Roundhouse in Camden.
The revamped London Roundhouse has begun to establish itself as one of the capital’s best venues and has a number of big name acts gracing its stage this autumn; including Patrick Wolf, Noel Gallagher and tonight’s headliners The Horrors. The five piece from Southend have submitted themselves to a Madonna-esque reinvention since the release of their debut album Strange House in 2007. Gone are the scenester haircuts, juvenile gothic nicknames and mediocre punk rock, being replaced with a much more mature style and sound. The band take to the stage in smart black shirts and leather jackets, and judging by the set list, which does not contain a single song from the Strange House era, The Horrors are looking to put their early years behind them.
From the opening salvo of ‘Changing the Rain’, the band’s live philosophy immediately becomes clear; louder is better. Their live show is reminiscent of the likes of My Bloody Valentine, from Joshua Hayward’s atmospheric wailing guitar to the band’s effortlessly cool and understated stage presence as well as the ear splitting volume of the performance. Unfortunately, at points during the gig vocalist Farris Badwan’s voice gets somewhat lost in the mix meaning some songs lose the edge his melodies give them. ‘Who Can Say’, for instance, which should have been one of the strongest songs of the night, passes by somewhat anonymously.
Overall, however, Badwan and co. treat the crowd to a performance of the highest quality, aided by the fantastic sound system at the venue, which is tested to its limit, and the pulsating light show that really adds another dimension to the show. Each track washes over the crowd then builds to a dramatic crescendo that at times is quite awe inspiring. Material from latest album, Skying, stands out particularly and is delivered with a maturity that emphasises just how far this group has come. With performances like this and song writing that is going from strength to strength, it would not be an exaggeration to call The Horrors the best band in the UK right now.
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