Right now, life is looking pretty good despite the fact that I can't have slept more than two hours in the last two days, I am running off of caffeine and in-and-out, and I have an English essay due on Jonathan Edwards. I have just seen the Horrors live at the El Rey in Los Angeles, and they were HEADLINING. Perhaps this last fact is not so completely inconceivable if you are someone other than me, but I tend to make the annoying habit of loving bands that only play opening sets. Point in case, the last time I saw the Horrors they were opening for the Kills. They played a pretty long set, but they were certainly not the main attraction. This time they were and the fact that they played at the El Rey made it even more epic. The El Rey is one of my favorite venues, as it is intimate even for a club setting.
We arrived early, but we didn't have to wait too long outside. Some crazy, drug-fried, middle-aged hipster was hanging around smoking pot and just generally being an idiot. I can't say I enjoyed it, but a cute blond guy in a striped shirt standing in front of us offered some mints. It made me happy because I am dorky and attractive guys who share my taste in music don't usually talk to me (as far as I am aware). After having my new green highlighter confiscated (God knows what trouble I would have gotten into with that), we proceeded to the merch table despite our lack of monetary funds. The girl working there was friendly and had a British accent that made her even more amazing. After bemoaning our inability to buy anything and the conspicuous lack of awesome Horrors' scarves, we proceeded to the stage.
From then until the opening band' set, it was mostly claustrophobia, awkwardness, and waiting. One highlight, however, was the discovery of a Faris lookalike who I deemed Faris 2.0. He had Faris' hair, nose, and general fashion sense, but he was about a foot shorter. I had difficulty deciding whether I found him creepy or attractive, though creepy ended up overbalancing physical appeal--especially later when I realized that many of the quirks that make Faris attractive to me, such as the expressiveness of his eyes, were absent in his double.
The opening band for the Horrors, the Japanese Motors, played a thankfully rather short set. I hate to be mean to opening bands because I have been in so many situations in which I attended the concert solely for one, but the best thing I can say about the Japanese Motors is that they were pleasantly mediocre when compared to my original impression of them as an insipid surf-pop band in the tradition of Vampire Weekend but less intelligent and more Southern California (as aptly put by Lynsey). Oh, I was also rather amused by the frontman's torn teddy bear sleep shirt, which I found to be the highlight of the performance.
More awkward waiting ensued after that. Just I was beginning to feel like I might either start elbowing all the people closing in on me or pass out from too much human contact and too little air circulation, the Horrors saved the day. There was the requisite fog created by a smoke machine when they came on, which I find fitting.
The first thing that I must say about Horrors' concerts is that they are like every cliche you have ever heard about live music. Only better. It is like feeling the gravitational pull of a star or sticking your finger in an outlet. The music is so tense and intense like a bow pulled taut enough to reach breaking point. I think I should quit the cheese though because it honestly cannot do it justice. All of them were as usual dressed impeccably. My dress sort of matched Faris' white-collared black shirt, which made me happy. I also loved Rhys' boyish attire.
The last time I saw the Horrors, I felt like I paid too much attention to Faris. Faris is rather difficult to ignore as the vocalist and the tallest member of the band. I promised myself that it would be different this time, however, and I would learn to be more appreciative of the entire band. I am quite glad that I did. First of all, Joshua is a god of a guitar player. His distortions and fingering are jaw-dropping. He also switched guitars about 5 times throughout the set and was constantly messing with various equipment. I am pretty sure he is a musical genius. I have also decided that I like his dance/shuffle and the way he paces like a caged animal. Rhys was also pretty interesting to watch. He is very animated and likes to sort of bounce and gyrate at the same time. It sounds odd, but the effect is quite sexy. He does this dance whether playing bass or synthesizer. Like Josh, his fingering is also impressively articulate. Tom provided a sharp contrast to Rhys in his movements. He is very reserved, controlled, and efficient. His precision (and to a certain extent his haircut) reminds me of Spock, which amuses me to no end. Joe seems very sincere about his playing--I can't think of any other way to put it. Though he put a lot of concentration into his drumming, he also usually looked like he was having a good time.
I was trying so hard to figure out what they were all doing and understand each band member's style of playing that Lynsey mention my expression was sort of frown-like (I tend to frown slightly when I am thinking ^^;). I am sure that all the roadies behind the scenes, if they could see me, thought I was a very odd little duck.
The concert overall was epic, and I cannot believe that they played the entirety of Primary Colours plus "Sheena Is a Parasite," "Gloves," and "Count in Fives." I wish they had played songs that weren't singles from Strange House, but beggars can't be choosers. Their cover of the Suicide song "Ghost Rider" made me happy too, though I didn't know what it was when I heard it. I liked the sibilant whispering Faris was doing in the beginning.
The only things that I did not really enjoy once the music started were the moshing and some girl's off-key singing/shouting. The former made me sad because I don't like people touching me or invading my personal space let alone shoving me, and the latter depressed me because I could hardly hear Faris over her godawfulness. It was sort of exciting that Faris almost threw some jackass who jumped onstage on Lynsey and me, but he eventually ended up to our right and crowd-surfed away from us. By exciting of course I mean in a life threatening way that also involved Faris.
I have spent most of my time between then and now replaying the concert either in my head or in Lynsey's company. If I had it my way, I would follow them from concert to concert and not because I want to be a creepy groupie but just because I want the privilege of seeing them live on a regular basis. And really, I think I could keep blabbing about this until even redundancy just says "fuck" and leaves. So I will stop now. Promise.