The Horrors have been playing music together for nine years. The band formed in England in 2005, and over the course of their four albums have gone from the punk-infused Strange House (2007) to the textured, layered sounds of Luminous (2014). It’s always interesting to see how different bands bring life to those layered, dream pop, and shoegaze-y songs on stage. Psychedelic synths and echo-y guitars have all the makings of falling flat and not connecting with the audience. At last night’s show at The Fillmore, The Horrors had it down to a dazzling spectacle of prismatic lights – all of the lights.
But before the rainbow light explosion of The Horrors took the stage, Moon Duo played a fantastic, thumping psychedelic set. Moon Duo, comprised of Erik “Ripley” Johnson of Wooden Shijps, Sanae Yamada, and newly-added drummer John Jeffrey, created a dark and pulsing mood with intricate shadow-like screen projections that wrapped the entire stage in a what looked like a black, bubbling, paisley flag. The band have just released Live in Ravenna on Sacred Bones Records in September, and are just as captivating on that record as they were on stage last night. Moon Duo’s drone-like rock felt especially ramped up with Jeffrey’s driving drums carrying a lot of the songs.
After Moon Duo cleared the stage, The Horrors took their respective spots: elaborate keyboard set-up, drum set-platform, and three Vox amps for the band’s guitarist, Joshua Hayward. The band opened with “Chasing Shadows,” the opening track off Luminous that warms up with a nearly-three minute intro into a soaring synth of a dance track.
Judging by the three-amp set up, it was strange how little guitar came through during most of the set. Lead singer Faris Badwan’s vocals also seemed lost in the haze, under the dominating layer of keyboard. It seemed to be the sound the band is going for. They had faith that the keyboard (much like Moon Duo’s drums) will carry their songs–and they did, with keyboardist Tom Cowan holding down the fort. The band primarily stuck with songs from Luminous and their previous album, Skying (2011) and played under a dazzling, beautiful light show…illuminating, if you will. Badwan played the part of mysterious, slightly intimidating frontman very well: tall, thin, unkempt hair, and leather jacket glued on for the whole set.
The Horrors closed out the set with a passionate rendition of “I See You” and returned with an encore of their current single, “So Now You Know,” before outdoing themselves with a sprawling jammed-out version of “Moving Further Away,” and turning in for the night.
What was unfortunate about the show was how poorly-attended it was. Insert commentary about ticket prices at The Fillmore here, but last night’s poor attendance in particular could also be chalked up to that little game that happened or something. The Horrors, abreast of these developments, chimed in with Badwan telling the crowd something along the lines of “Congratulations about baseball.” Thanks, dude.