The Horrors at QMU, 19/10/17

On this fine evening, the Glaswegian city is in complete turmoil; winds are battering the city from side to side, as Ophelia is roaring around the UK.

Unusual venue for The Horrors who since they started releasing music back in early 2000’s, have progressively metamorphosed into one of the most consistent yet experimental English acts of our generation.

Punters are gathering early and in masses in front of the doors of that west end venue, eager to start their almost end-of-the-week festive pilgrimage with music, beers and banter.

When the clock ticks nine in the pm, a blitz of smoke begins to saturate the stage, through the chemicals; slender figures appear out of nowhere.

As the show kick-starts, a profusion of red lights pervades the stage, covering the entire audience, weighing down on everyone as if we were about to enter an obscure German techno nightclub.

A few panic-stricken faces flee the dark venue in the first five minutes fearing to collapse due to the suffocating heat that pervades the entire jam-packed venue, for the most endearing it is time to enjoy ‘Hologram’, the atmospheric opener of the band’s latest release V.

When ‘Machine’ resonates, the mood changes, the gripping heat becomes more and more palpable and the cold blue lights bouncing off the walls don’t soothe the audience, only exacerbating the distortion of the frenetic guitars.

When ‘Sea Within a Sea’’s hypnotizing introduction reverberates, the entire room is filled with all shades of pink, making you feel like an idiot for leaving your shades at home.

At times the audience oscillates, resonates and even vibrates.

The vocals are powerfully swaying, carrying you into the melodies as if you were about to jump into a fresh bed of silky sheets.

Singing as if casting spells, Faris Badwan must have been a sorcerer of some sort in another life.

As the show proceeds, the sound becomes more soothing and atmospheric, the band is almost courting the crowd and the latter takes its sweet time to react before being swooped, swooned and almost musically spooned by the anthemic ‘Still Life’.

The performance is perfectly coordinated resulting into a proper synesthetic experience more than just a musical offering, stretching the cord of every single of one of your senses.

As the concert reaches its climax, none of the band members can be properly perceived, only a handful of nuanced silhouettes; the five musicians become contours, a succession of wavy shapes embracing the darkness as their new habitat.

The 12 song set feels oddly short, although the new album’s material is being deciphered on stage in front of a very responding audience.

The encore brings the final polishing touches with ‘Ghost’ and finally ‘Something to Remember Me By’, which cuts through the crowd with its electronica and synthetic beat.

When the lights are switched back, the band has vanished; frazzled and fulfilled the crowd leaves dazed and confused; just the way it should be after a horror show.

More Photos

Words: Jeremy Veyret
Photos: Stewart Fullerton

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