Live Review: Liars, Heaven, London

Thursday, November 11

Phot: Stuart Leech/NME
It’s strange to think that Liars and The Hives came to our attention at the same time, opening up a loophole in the space-time continuum for The Strokes to slip through in the process. While most bands born that weird year of 2001 now find themselves the wrong side of a good time, the LA group with the Australian singer have come miles since their debut album was lumped in with New York’s early century dance-punk revival scene. You’d think busman’s holidays in Berlin and the forests of New Jersey would only add to the chaos of their identity but tonight something clicks, and it becomes clear that after a decade spent exploring it, Liars are now the best rock band in the world.

Just how the fuck did this happen? They tell Heaven tonight, ignoring latest album ‘Sisterworld’ for most of an opening 20 minutes they crown with a punch, ‘Plaster Casts Of Everything’ removing hands from pockets, feet from floor. People are actually slam-dancing, provoked by that moment in ‘I Still Can See An Outside World’ where the guitars come in and it sounds like all the volcanoes erupting at once, spunking the world’s earth into the air, so the ground turns to a slop beneath your feet and you die in a vortex of rubble and screaming.

It’s in states like these that Liars revel. If their taste for physical and artistic travel means they’ve been hard to pin ’til now, that questing taste has now become their defining trait. Tonight they’ll haul out the sociopathic blasting of ‘Scarecrows On A Killer Slant’, then play the beautiful ‘Too Much, Too Much’ before losing themselves in ‘The Overachievers’’ happy goon stampede.

For the most part, they’re a quintet tonight, only slimming to a trio for their third encore. Frontman Angus Andrew first bids the crowd farewell 30 minutes in, but their set runs on for a subsequent 40, and at no point does it feel like a drag. As two drummers drum primally in primary lights, the impression of Liars is of a band aliens might think epitomise rock music if you merely described it to them. The volume, defiance and textures are all there, but they’re oddly put together. There’s nothing polite about Liars. They are scrabblers in rock’s rubble, enjoying their own din.

Kev Kharas

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