Live Review: The Horrors at LA’s El Rey (9/15)

On their latest album, the CoS Top Star-earning Skying, The Horrors continue their ascent to the top of the indie rock world, cementing their reputation as one of the most consistently bar-raising acts in music today. Skying continues Primary Colours‘ knack for subtlety, retaining many of The Horrors’ best traits for a record that rises above. This fall, The Horrors have taken their new LP on the road with the help of LA psych-soul standouts The Stepkids.

Local favorites The Stepkids opened things up with their retro, jazzy R&B stylings. Performed while mind-bending projections were projected onto the trio, who were decked out in matching all-white getups and playing all-white instruments, The Stepkids’ set had to be seen to be believed (video below!). The trio got things going early with their brand of funky psychedelia, showcasing their stunning virtuosity and irresistible groove as they offered an exciting preview of their forthcoming, self-titled debut full-length (out September 27th on Stones Throw Records), while throwing in several of their well-received singles to keep the crowd going.

The Horrors took the stage right on time and almost immediately broke into Skying‘s opener, “Changing the Rain”. Guitarist Josh Hayward and synthman Tom Cowan exhibited the track’s more sprawling tendencies (it stretches to nearly nine minutes on the album’s deluxe edition) before breaking into fan favorite “Who Can Say” off of Primary Colours. Though the tracks varied little from their studio form and the jammier sections – which mostly consisted of Hayward drawing out feedback and reverb-y notes off of his amp stack – grew tired rather fast, the band played with veteran ease, hardly even leaving the stage before their encore. Instead, they let the feedback at the end of “Still Life”, Skying‘s lead single and best track, ring out for a minute or two before they returned for a spirited take on “Mirror’s Image”. Frontman Faris Badwan cut a dashing figure as he shifted about moodily onstage, occasionally throwing in a “Thank you, you’re a lovely crowd” between songs. The Horrors closed their set with a sprawling take on Skying‘s “Moving Further Away”, the album’s longest cut, stretching the track to its sprawling, furthest extent before thanking the crowd for the last time. Although their 11-song set was criminally short, it was more than enough to warrant the heaps of praise they’ve been receiving of late.

Changing the Rain
Who Can Say?
I Can See Through You
Scarlet Fields
Dive In
Three Decades
Endless Blue
Sea Within a Sea
Still Life
Mirror’s Image
Moving Further Away


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