Review: The Horrors @ Electric Ballroom, June 5th.

The Horrors @ Electric Ballroom, Camden. June 5th 2009Before last night I’d never seen The Horrors live. Having become somewhat obsessed with their second album, the thrilling ‘Primary Colours’, I was half excited to hear it in the flesh, half nervous that any illusions of greatness I had would come crashing down in one fell swoop.

Entering Camden’s sold out Electric Ballroom at the same time as me was none other than Bobby Gillespie which helped to ease the nerves a little that there must be substance to the band beyond their latest, Geoff Barrow (Portishead) produced recordings. Even if that wasn’t to be the case, the fact that a man of such significant musical talent could perhaps make the same mistake as I was at least a comfort.

As the stage is readied we’re kept amused by a varied mix of tracks, presumably from the bands renowned record collection, including The Mamas and Papas and the now obligatory Portishead track ‘The Rip’ to which the new found keys of The Horrors tip their cap more than slightly.

At last the band enter to rapturous applause and any fears I have subside in the first couple of minutes of ‘Mirror’s Image’ with its glorious psychedelic intro that builds into a spiky guitar riff and Faris Badwan’s new, more assured and frankly infinitely more tolerable vocal style. Surely one of the best album and set openers in recent years?

The Horrors @ Elctric Ballroom, Camden. June 5th 2009

Bright coloured lights and heavy strobing are used to great effect tonight, casting the coiffured, gangly figure of Faris and his well kempt band as silhouettes against a simple white back-drop. It produces a ghoulish blurred outline, a very similar effect to that seen on the album artwork of ‘Primary Colours’. Much to my delight the band tear through a forty minute set of solely new material. It’s hard to pick highlights but at a push there’s the epic guitar riff of ‘Do You Remember’ and the psychedelic keys of ‘Who Can Say’. The mesmerising groove coupled with an excellent vocal performance from Faris during stunning track ‘Scarlet Fields’ must be up there too. But perhaps all of these pale slightly in comparison to the seven minutes plus of ‘Sea Within A Sea’, a dark-disco guitar epic that will stand up against any song released this year. The Horrors exit the stage after what was nudging a perfect set, leaving me to rest easy and wallow in my love affair with ‘Primary Colours’ content in the knowledge that it’s not just a mirage of studio trickery. Phew!

The Horrors @ Elctric Ballroom, Camden. June 5th 2009

But wait! Unfortunately they return and play three of their earlier songs including abrasive first single ‘Sheena Is A Parasite’. It highlights the huge progress the band has made since those days. The encore is received with formidable reaction from the younger members of the crowd especially. The band unsurprisingly seems to enjoy playing to such a response. Let’s just pray they don’t get tempted to take any steps backwards in the near future.
The Horrors @ Elctric Ballroom, Camden. June 5th 2009

For Fans Of: Joy Division, My Bloody Valentine, Crystal Stilts.

mp3: The Horrors – Who Can Say

buy: Primary Colours  CD/LP iTunes / 7Digital

2 Responses to “Review: The Horrors @ Electric Ballroom, June 5th.”

  1. zanmanfucius Says:

    Hmmmm, i know it don really matter (!), but i would like to know what Bobby thought of this one.

    • I’m guessing he was up in the VIP section so I didn’t spot him rocking or not rocking out I’m afraid. Let’s assume he hated it! Bobby – you out there??

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