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It was a perfect, chilly Tuesday night in Williamsburg last week, when The Horrors took the stage for the second of two NYC shows, before making their way across the country to Coachella.  And while William has waxed poetic about these English lads after their previous D.C. show, there’s still much to be said about the fivesome from Southend-on-the-Sea.

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First, and most obviously, The Horrors get better and better with every gig.

The band has come a long way both on record and from those almost shy, shoe-gazey days of Strange House. Having seen them first, when they opened for The Kills back in 2009, it was apparent back then that they didn’t belong on a stage so big.  The sounds, though sonic and utterly brilliant, fell flat with a lacking zombie-like live show.  It’s got to be the four years of touring that have given all of the members the confidence to be, well, more than just broody cadavers on stage.  Bassist, Rhys Webb, entertains with his tip-toe pirouettes while his fingers wickedly pluck and strum bass lines that’d make Peter Hook envious.  Lead singer, Faris Badwan, howls and looms over the audience like Lurch from the Addams’s family, but still manages to connect with all of us whether it be by the intensely personal lyrics or his steely gaze.  Keyboardist, Tom Furse, shone brightest on the intricate “Sea Within A Sea” which to this day still has one of my favorite key parts of all time. Drummer Joe Spurgeon’s talent was noticeable on tracks like “Mirror’s Image” and “I Can See Through You” adding just the right level of subtle percussion to elevate the songs in a live setting without detracting from the rest of the composition.

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My compliments don’t end there, but the rest are reserved for Joshua Hayward (Joshua Third or Joshua Von Grimm to us old fanatics).  You see Hayward is probably one of the most dynamic guitarists of our time, and I don’t stress the truth in those words lightly. Hayward is a beast on his Fender Jaguar during songs like “Three Decades” or “Scarlet Fields” where he holds back nothing… tossing his guitar around in a way that made every girl in the audience want to be with him (or be that guitar, frankly) and every boy want to be him.  His violent, slamming of body and instrument into amps, bandmates, the floor wasn’t a show of bravado, it was a display of a musician completely in his element.  But the sullen eyed babe had no problem reining in his prowess to play the most melodic of beats of songs like “Still Life” and “Sea Within A Sea” allowing his bandmates to shine in their own right.  It was utterly mesmerizing (again) to see someone so exceptionally talented existing right before my very eyes.

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I’d be remiss to say Hayward stole the show and The Horrors would be nothing without him. But this is a band that needs each other and if the past four years of practice, touring and excellent album making are any indication of where they’re headed? Well they’ve got a fan in me for life.

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SETLIST

  • Changing The Rain
  • Who Can Say
  • I Can See Through You
  • Scarlet Fields
  • Dive In
  • Endless Blue
  • Sea Within A Sea
  • Still Life
  • Moving Further Away

Encore

  • Mirror’s Image
  • Three Decades
  • Oceans Burning

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