The Horrors – Liverpool, O2 Academy – 22 September 2017 Print E-mail
Written by DJ Astrocreep   
Thursday, 09 November 2017 04:00

A break from the usual rock or metal shows I go to is always welcome, so a night with a synth-driven artist is usually a treat. The Horrors have been around for 12 years now and were tipped for great things around ten years ago when I first found them. That hasn't quite come around for them, yet a tour as support for Depeche Mode earlier this year has given them access to a larger audience to push their music upon. Could this be the time that they finally live up to the promise that was spotted so early in their career? It was time to go and find out!


The Horrors tour poster


Continuing what seems to be a recent trend of a single support band, Baba Naga come on to the stage and a growing crowd looks up and starts to pay attention. A sitar opening solo, on a guitar with a pedal, creates an interesting diversion from what you would expect in these circumstances and seems to somewhat puzzle the crowd at first. They continue on with their tracks and there is a very prog like ambience created. Vocals are more sounds made to accompany the music or monk-like chanting, rather than actual lyrics, creating much more of a mood than a need to listen to specific parts.


You get the impression that Pink Floyd have played a big part in their musical influence with the musical sound of Baba Naga, as the psychedelia feel is quite relaxing or soothing, depending on your own state of mind. As they get through their set, there is a growing appreciation from the crowd as they seem to eventually subscribe to what is being given. Overall, a strange but enjoyable support slot from Baba Naga.


This brings us on to The Horrors. They've been around for 12 years now, with a different feel to some of their albums. Starting with ‘Hologram’, the opening track from their latest album, there is an immediate Gary Numan or Depeche Mode feel, a likely reason for their support of Depeche Mode earlier in the year. There is a fair amount of hazer used with a very good lighting set continuing the earlier ambience set by Baba Naga. They continue with ‘Machine’, also from the new album, creating what is, in essence, a psychedelic synth feel to the night, at times verging on the edge of trance, with the distorted vocals helping on this.


The Horrors photo


It was now time to go back to the second album, and while the new album is clearly known and liked by those here, the approaching capacity crowd take even more to the older songs. ‘Who Can Say’ continues the feel from the openers, as do ‘Mirrors' Image’ and ‘Sea Within A Sea’, from the fourth and second albums respectively. The well-curated set seems to be almost continuous at times, ignoring somewhat the breaks between songs, as songs flow well from one to the next, despite the difference in age of the tracks.


The Horrors seem to remember they are touring to promote the new album now, as both ‘Weighed Down’ and ‘Press Enter To Exit’ are both from the latest release, before a return to 2011's ‘Skying’ brings out both ‘Endless Blue’ and ‘Still Life’ to finish the body of the main set. The only real criticism I could give for the performance comes out in these, as fewer filters and effects are used on the mic and the vocals sound a little bit too raw at times, but this is occasional rather than the norm.


The Horrors go off stage and the crowd is fairly quiet in waiting for their return - a far cry from a lot of the rock or metal gigs I attend where the shouts of “more” or “encore” are often louder than the bands themselves are allowed to be. Nevertheless, back on they come, to perform another two tracks from their latest album, in ‘Ghost’ and ‘Something To Remember Me By’, which go down well, before finally leaving the stage.


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