After a somewhat stressful journey – I swear, I didn’t miss the bus stop – I made it to East London’s Troxy; a gorgeous venue, seemingly wasted when by 8.30 the floor is littered with plastic cups. Due to travel mishaps, I only managed to catch the end of support act, Telegram, an eclectic foursome of glam, punk and a lot of hair. Although I only caught the end, they seemed to own the venue well; whilst the majority of the crowd seemed far too interested in the bar to properly focus on Telegram, they clearly had a few fans in the room.
Before I move onto The Horrors, it has come to my attention that to criticise them is not a popular thing to do – who knew?! I will, however, also say in advance that I’m not criticising them as such, more the evening as whole. The crowd was the first thing to catch my attention as questionable. It was half typical Horrors fans: long hair, check; guy liner, check; docs, check; colour? What’s that? The other half, however, was made up seemingly entirely of middle-aged men who, while enjoying the music, seemed so unenthused – and, no, these weren’t men dragged along with teenage girls, they were apparently here by choice. A guy on the bus said the crowd were what he imagined a Fleetwood Mac crowd to be like; I’ve seen Fleetwood Mac, and I can confirm that the crowd was, in fact, significantly better.
Although I may have been disappointed in the gig, it’s indisputable that The Horrors are one of the coolest bands around. As the rest of the band silently took to the stage, encouraged by ominous tones, front man Faris emerged from a cloud of smoke like some sort of indie Jesus. It’s effortless, smooth and they’re totally mesmerising to watch. However, prepare yourselves for criticism number two: the lights. Was I at The Horrors’ gig? Was I at a light show with a Horrors soundtrack? No one can be sure, but I can confirm that it was a massive distraction. Not only could I not see the band, people were struggling to look at the stage. Only when Faris began interacting with the green laser that blanketed the crowd did the lights become somewhat welcome: along with the hypnotic nature of the music, Faris again transformed into a messiah-type figure, the crowd, who moments earlier could barely look at the stage appeared unable to take their eyes off him.
The Horrors worked through an arguably average set. They may be talented musicians but they’re yet to work out how to correctly order their songs. The first half (perhaps even a bit more) was dull; I liked the songs, a collection including ‘In and Out of Sight’, ‘Sea Within A Sea’ and ‘Sleepwalk’, but the band seemed unable to grip people until they played ‘Endless Blue’. They finished on a refreshing high with ‘Still Life’ and ‘I See You’, with an encore of ‘So Now You Know’ and ‘Moving Further Away’. Further Away. Sadly, this euphoric ending was almost ruined by the abundance of people leaving before they’d even finished. Yes, they may have launched into a 5/10 minute instrumental, and yes, there may have been buses and tubes to catch, but it seemed very odd, almost as though people had been waiting for an acceptable moment to leave since the first song.
While I have struggled to massively compliment the gig, I will again point out that it wasn’t awful – the guys are insanely talented and it should’ve been amazing – it just lacked something.