Concert stories /// The Horrors @ Afisha Picnic, Moscow /// 25.07.2015

The Horrors

(c) Olga Polomoshnova

Afisha Picnic is one of the most favourite summer festivals among the people of Moscow. Held in the picturesque park of Kolomenskoye, the event draws an annual huge crowd to enjoy some great music in the bliss of the huge park by the water. Traditionally having two stages for different kinds of music, Afisha Picnic offers not only a sonic diversity from the best Russian and foreign bands, but also a variety of entertainment to busy oneself with. This year one of the guests of the festival, which was held on July 25, 2015, were The Horrors.

The Horrors 2

(c) Olga Polomoshnova

Enjoying the reputation of a gothically dark act, The Horrors got an afternoon slot which they managed to make as noir as it was humanly possible even in the broad daylight. While I’d personally have preferred to see this mesmerising band in the darkness of the night, the sunshine never stole the crepuscular majesty of their performance. In fact, it was The Horrors, who stole the show that afternoon. Having emerged onstage all clad in black they cast a veil of enchantment over the audience with the vibe they were oozing: they came there to hypnotise. And hypnotise they did. The Horrors put up an intense show with just an 8-track set, which was based mostly around ‘Primary Colours’, ‘Skying’ and ‘Luminous’, with the tracks from the debut ‘Strange House’ being notably absent. They kicked the set off with the punkish ‘Mirror’s Image’ and it went only uphill from that moment on. Right through the dancing modes of ‘I Can See Through You’, the menace of ‘Who Can Say’ and the enchantment of ‘In And Out Of Sight’ it went to calmed down, dreamy ‘Sea Within A Sea’, ‘Scarlet Fields’ and ‘Still Liffe’ only to explode and go totally out of control on the set closer ‘I See You’. It was growing louder, bolder, more ecstatic with every minute, as if the storm had been gathering up and finally reached its peak. The band was gradually losing control together with the audience, which was growing as the set progressed, having come from the initial timidness of performing in a brand-new country for them to the total uncontrollable blast of a show.

The ever-evolving sonic pictures The Horrors painted with their melodies as well as lengthy bridges, intros and outros were there to set the ecstatic mood. To witness the band and their

(c) Olga Polomoshnova

(c) Olga Polomoshnova

overwhelmingly intense emotions at these fierce moments was priceless. The whole euphoric atmosphere of their performance was fuelled by the great passion burning at the core of The Horrors lore: they made the whole show sound and look as if it were from another world. Known for his stage antics and at times outrageous stage behaviour, The Horrors’ lead singer Faris Badwan was a spectacle to watch. He came across as a restless frontman reminding of a caged lion with his pacing the stage and looking as if he were about to attack. Throwing long, intense glances into the audience, he enchanted everyone, cast a spell with how he was losing himself in the songs and how incredible his deep, velvet voice sounded live. Artistic to the core, Faris is mysterious and unusual, but the magnetic music The Horrors make can only be created by the band fronted by such an out-of-this world, creative person like Faris is.

There are bands whose performances stick in your memory as very different from the most. Witnessing The Horrors live was one of the most unusual concert experiences as the band’s mystery and darkness are well reflected not only in their music, but also in their  shows. And once you fall under their spell, there’s not much left but to be charmed.

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