We arrive at The Bierkeller in the early evening of a late October night and filter through the doors with as varied a crowd as you will see; music fans from all walks of life congregate to see The Horrors. The hour+ wait for the music to begin feels a little drawn out and is a gap that could have been well filled by a local act but with the wait over the night gets underway…
Baba Naga open the show, not that you’d have known that on the way in as their name does not appear on the poster or any of the social media I saw for the event. As the sole support Baba Naga have a big job to do in entertaining the crowd, who are steadily filling the Bierkeller. The psychedelic soundscape they create is immediately captivating; most songs are driven by the pounding rhythm section while the droning vocals coated in effects merge in with the instrumentation. The guitar provides the top line here consistently travelling away from the core riffs and into Middle Eastern sounding licks and blues inspired jam solos. There is perhaps a lack of variation in time signatures compared to my expectations for a band of this nature but the dark tones are well suited to The Horrors audience. The set is expertly put together with one track effortlessly flowing into the next and the lack of talking between songs adds to the mystique. The down side to this being that in combination with the promotion if it hadn’t been for the nearby merch stand I would never have know the name Baba Naga.
Mop headed Goth Poppers The Horrors burst onto the British Indie scene around its peak in the mid 2000’s, 10 years on and now touring their newly released 5th album 'V' they have out lasted many of their peers. The fact the likes of Kaiser Chiefs and The Enemy were even considered peers to The Horrors may have been purely circumstantial as their sound has often had more in common with US Garage rock and 80’s Synth-Goth. Obscured beneath a layer of smoke and red lights they take to the stage and the impact is immediate, the crowds anticipation morphs into joy and the Bierkeller is bouncing. The centre of the crowd is energetic throughout with huge cheers for the classics as well for new single ‘Something To Remember Me By’ which inspires a momentary crowd surfer before he is brought back down to earth rapidly by the flashlights of the venue security. Charismatic front man Faris Badwan effortlessly holds the audience’s attention as the band fly through song after song. Much like the opening band there is little emphasis on stage banter as the music does all the talking necessary. The music talks in many tongues fusing blissful shoe-gaze, heavy garage rock, Psychedelia and electro into a rock n’ roll cauldron that can only be The Horrors.
Speaking to other attendees there’s a high level of excitement around this latest album which many say has the potential to push The Horrors further into the mainstream than ever before. With a great showing here in Bristol it certainly seems a possibility and it’s all smiles on the faces of the crowd who pour out of the venue on route to the after party headlined by a DJ set from The Horrors bassist Rhys Webb.
Who Can Say
In and Out of Sight
Sea Within a Sea
Press Enter to Exit
Something to Remember Me By
Review by Hena Larkin