For the ashen hordes of east London, it was the moment of truth. Since revealing a dramatic change in sound, The Horrors have been at the centre of some debate: should they have jettisoned their aggressive garage rock which won them their fans - and a fair few detractors - after just one album? Even Spider Webb’s hair has been up for the chop – is nothing sacred?
Pic: James Quinton
On the strength of its first live outing in the distinctly civilised environs of the RichMix cinema in Shoreditch, the stylistic volte-face seems to have paid off. Playing their new album 'Primary Colours' almost in its entirety - see the news report for the full setlist - the fans greeted the unfamiliar songs with an open-mindedness which quickly mutated into enthusiasm.
From the motorik beat of 'Sea Within A Sea', to the smeared eyeliner romanticism of 'Who Can Say', it suddenly seems churlish to long for, say 'Draw Japan' when you're confronted with the image of Faris sitting on the tattooed shoulders of a particularly burly fan as he does his best Ian McCulloch impression.
And while the band have clearly been working on their 100-yard stares, Faris’s new restrained look – a black T-shirt and leather jacket – surely marks the greatest transition from wiry weirdo to Goth heartthrob since Nick Cave hung up his tourniquet.
For the more reactionary fans, the band paid tribute to their first album with re-energised renderings of 'Count In Fives' and 'Sheena Is a Parasite', the latter played in double time as Faris urged the crowd to enjoy it while they could. We reckon this new direction is going to be around a little bit longer.
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Meanwhile, here's The Horrors' new track 'Sea Within A Sea':