The Horrors @ Leeds Beckett Student Union 21.10.2017
“Are we holograms? Are we visions?” certainly rang true in the visual presentation of The Horrors’ headline gig. Amidst the smoky atmosphere and holographic lights, the band were only really visible as silhouettes and shadows, retreating in and out of the darkness. The most identifiable feature of frontman Farris Badwan was his Robert Smith-esque hair, floating in the iridescent arena. When he resurfaced from the smoke maybe only the front row could make out his face, but for those at the back, they really were just visions.
The band had the audience in a trance-like state, hypnotized by their sedative rhythm and ‘70s psychedelic-esque sound. What they convey through sound and vision is something not far from astronauts floating around in space, detached from the rush of reality and guided by their own measured beats. At times Badwan broke our trance, with electrifying, animated movements that didn’t seem quite humanly possible. Perhaps they picked up an alien on their space tour? That wouldn’t be far off their ‘80s agenda. The Horrors’ ‘80s influences are hard to miss, think Echo & the Bunnymen reeled back a notch, slower and more sustained melancholy with a psychedelic aura.
Badwan’s voice sometimes blends with the loud atmospheric music, a reminder that the band are a unified force, beckoning the audience to take a step closer and figure them out amongst the shadows. They played a variety of songs, particularly from their newest album, V, which maintains their steady sound in songs like ‘Ghost’, steps things up a beat. Meanwhile, some of their new numbers, like ‘Point of No Reply’, have brought The Horrors closer to pop – melancholy ‘80s pop that is – with these influences unmistakable in their fitting final song, ‘Something To Remember Me By’. Despite its initial enigmatic and aesthetic appeal, their shadowy presence left me wanting a little more to remember them by.
Fiona Hope McDowall
Photo Credit: Bianca Wallis-Salmon