The Horrors: Harmony Palace Restaurant, New York, Wednesday, November 1

The Horrors: Harmony Palace Restaurant, New York, Wednesday, November 1

The night after The Horrors’ Halloween rampage proves NYC is still not safe

So, it’s the night after Halloween, and some things are still scary. Tonight Club NME is making its Manhattan debut, and there are five wraith-like fellows onstage, screeching through a belligerently raucous six-song set. Yes, The Horrors are in town and one night after Faris was assaulted onstage, New York still doesn’t know what to make of them.

This is the freak show everyone wants to see. As they file out onto the unlit stage and launch into a barrage of growling feedback, glowering, looming dread builds within the room. Then Faris utters the words, “One, two, four… um,” and starts to convulse as the Frankenstein lurch of guitar and Wurlitzer organ of ‘Jack The Ripper’ kick in. He paces the stage, swinging his mic stand, uttering a deep, raspy shriek and plunging into the crowd, grabbing someone in a headlock before falling on the floor and writhing.

People seem stunned. They stand totally still at first, then start to move: some of them gravitate, raptly fascinated, towards Faris, others recoil and scurry away to hide by the bar. The Horrors are certainly divisive; they’re capable of creating not only a generation gap but also an inner-goth-gap – either somewhere within you is a sulky

19-year-old with a fondness for gargoyles and Edgar Allan Poe, or there isn’t. This crowd is split pretty much down the centre.

Everything tonight is carefully thought out, from the polka-dot handkerchief poking out of Faris’ pocket to the grubby smears of bruise-coloured eyeshadow blotting out Josh’s eyes, to the way ‘Count In Fives’ references raw old school ’80s hardcore just as much as it does B-movie soundtracks and ’60s garage. They are menacing and ghoulish, yes, but cartoonishly so; exuding elegance and a weird kind of aesthetic purity.

As the final, clamorous thunderbolt of feedback rumbles through the venue, Faris, still fixing the audience with an icy stare, gingerly removes his jacket from the mic stand on which he placed it earlier before climbing a stack of amps, and slowly, calmly, slips it on. When the last button is buttoned, he brushes off a sleeve, casts one look back, and slinks off the stage like a gentlemanly maniac who has just completed a very tidy, very satisfying murder. Fair enough, because tonight, The Horrors’ slayed New York.

April Long