Despite the odd torrential downpour, Glastonbury 2014 has revealed many pleasures:
- More stages than Berlusconi has mistresses.
- Cases of trench foot down 38% on last year.
- You could have a great time here without seeing a single band.
- No sign of an under-performing, yet overpaid England football team.
- The circus acts are brightly coloured and thus easy to spot and avoid.
There is also the added bonus that a band as good as as The Horrors – headliners at London’s Field Day festival this year – are slotted in on the Other Stage at 5.20pm on a Sunday, sandwiched between Sam Smith and Bombay Bicycle Club. They sit there like the evil filling in an otherwise wholesome meal. But if there’s a better way to spend the Sabbath, then I have yet to hear it.
After the sunshine, fun and exuberance of Dolly Parton’s Pyramid Stage performance, which included her playing the Benny Hill theme tune on a saxophone (what next? juggling?) and introducing Ritchie Sambora for her cover of Bon Jovi classic “Lay Your Hands On Me” (my friend pointed out rather unkindly about Sambora, “I don’t think we needed any more massive tits onstage”), The Horrors came as a rather refreshing, if that’s the right word, cloud of gloom.
They came onstage through billowing smoke looking like a rough and moody sort of gang. Such was their success that the sun itself temporarily hid behind the clouds for the duration of their set, only to return when Bombay Bicycle Club came to play The Other Stage.
Lead singer Faris Badawan stands regally, like an indie version of Sam The Eagle from the Muppets, vocals full of foreboding. Bassist Rhys Webb bobs about like Bez whilst guitarist Josh Hayward conjures up atmospheric sounds from six strings and seven times as many different guitar effects pedals.
New album “Luminous” is well represented, with opening track “Chasing Shadows”, “In and Out of Sight”, “So Now You Know” and set closer “I See You”. The new songs are strong, and complemented by a number from second album Primary Colours, and just the one (“Still Life”) from “Skying”, which gets the best response from the crowd.
Most interesting of all is a cover of Frankie Knuckles’ “Your Love” complete with female backing singers.
The Horrors remain a terrific band, and one that deserve a greater profile generally. Despite their slightly serious countenances, their songs can be both uplifting and atmospheric. Whilst a little bit of Dolly Parton may be a refreshing sweet fizzy drink once in a while, The Horrors are The Real Thing…
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