Wednesday 12 January 2011

Gig Review - Pulled Apart By Horses @ Newcastle Cluny, 11/01/11

Newcastle has waited a long time for an appearance from Leeds four-piece Pulled Apart By Horses. With a show in November cancelled on the day (apparently lead singer Tom was coughing up blood - how metal of him), this was their chance to make up for lost time. Preceeding the band were Young Legionnaire, featuring ex-members from the likes of yourcodenameis:milo and Bloc Party. Sounding like Vertigo Of Bliss-era Biffy Clyro fronted by the bastard offspring of Brian Molko and The Mars Volta's Cedric Bixler-Zavala, their set was pretty impressive, chock full with interesting time signatures and loud riffs tied together by incredibly tight drumming. With a debut album out in March, Young Legionnaire are definitely one to watch.

However, any band having to open for Pulled Apart By Horses is placed in a difficult position. No matter how great you play, and Young Legionnaire really were great, the jaw-dropping (ultimate) power of Pulled Apart By Horses' live show is such that, come the gig's close, the punters aren't likely to be talking about the support act when they leave. Opening with the frenetic, and fantastically titled, 'E=MC Hammer', the atmosphere is raucous from the get go. Droves of fans flood to the front of The Cluny's main room, bodies flailing, limbs in the air. By the time 'Back to the Fuck Yeah' starts, even those towards the back of the crowd are at least tapping their toes and nodding their heads - at a Pulled Apart By Horses gig, movement is mandatory. Slap bang in the middle of exam and essay period, it seems there is no greater release than flinging oneself into the centre of a writhing mass of bodies, bellowing "YEAAAAAAH! YEAAAAAH!"

Now with a debut album under their belts, last year's frankly awesome self-titled release, the band have an extremely strong setlist, positively brimming with explosive riffs and tongue-in-cheek lyrics that could bring a smile to even the stoniest faces. Newer tracks 'Yeah Buddy', 'Get Off My Ghost Train' and 'Moonlit Talons' all make appearances that fit in extremely well alongside old favourites 'The Crapsons' and 'Meat Balloon'. The pace, the audience's energy, the band's intensity; none of it wavers for a second. For those that have seen the band live before, the stage staples remain - James climbing anything he can get a hold of, Tom diving into the crowd, Lee remaining silent but effortlessly precise behind his kit. That it still feels fresh and exhilarating is testament to Pulled Apart By Horses' skill both as musicians and manic entertainers.

As the set draws to a close, the big guns come out; 'High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive' and 'I Punched A Lion In The Throat' still pack a huge punch, with scorching licks and amazing lyrics in abundance (try I'll make you dance with my balls on fire!, or Ultimate power! Maximum life!). The crowd explodes, the sweaty mob at the front increasing in numbers and stamina in the stand-out highlight of the evening. The final song, the album's epic closer 'Den Horn', with its crushingly monstrous riff, feels like a victory lap as the audience slows down slightly to take in the last devastating blast of sound before it's time for Pulled Apart By Horses to leave.

Overall, an invigorating, intoxicating shot of adrenaline. It's become a cliche to say so, but the point has truly become unavoidable - Pulled Apart By Horses surely must be one of the UK's best live bands. Don't believe me? You'll just have to see for yourself.

Pulled Apart By Horses' debut album is out now - buy it here on Amazon, and listen here on Spotify. I implore you.

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