Over The Weekend: The Horrors at the Granada Theater

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The Horrors, Crocodiles, The Burning Hotels
Granada Theater
September 25, 2009

Better than: the last time The Horrors played the Granada.

If fans of The Horrors' more theatrical, debut album, Strange House, came out of The Granada before the band strutted back on stage to perform its 15-minute encore, those fans might've left as disappointed as they as were when the band opened for The Kills back in April.

But, on Friday night, things were different. The band was headlining this time around--and, as such, treated its fans to a vibrant take of the band's first three singles.

In all, it was a fine evening: Opening act The Burning Hotels of Fort Worth definitely warmed the crowd up nicely; Crocodiles played next, and though the turnout was small and the band's drone-y sound found each song bleeding into the next, people made space for applause.

By the time the Horrors came on stage, though, the theater still hadn't filled out. And while The Horrors' members do seem to have the whole atmospheric-rock-band look down--from their skinny jeans and cropped jackets to their smoke machines and low lighting--the band also sounded the part Friday night, entrancing the meager crowd with its chiefly Primary Colours-based set.

As the band launched into "Mirror's Image", the latest single off Primary Colours, the band's second album, the lights in the room remained low, and the band played the intro in the shadows. Then lead singer Faris Badwin emerged from the synthetic fog, grabbed the mic and, in his best voice, sang out to the crowd.

The theater wasn't exceptionally packed Friday night; in fact, it was the first non-local show I've caught at the Granada where I could casually walk down either one of the aisles and directly up to the stage without having to slither and bump my way to the front.

But the fact that it wasn't insanely packed made for a more intimate, underground feel. It was obvious that the crowd that had come out to the show was there because they legitimately wanted to experience The Horrors live--there wasn't a whole lot of chatting going on amongst the crowd, and nearly everyone's attention was fixated on the stage.

After "Mirrors Image", the band went on to play "Three Decades" and then the title track "Primary Colours," as well. At this point, the entire aesthetic of the stage morphed; the shadows became replaced with vivid stained-glass-like lighting, all the while strobe lights pulsated within in the fog. The band continued to play tracks off Primary Colours and the crowd continued to devour each and every one of them.

At the end of the set, the band exited the stage, without playing a single tune off their debut album. Then, after about a minute of silence, the inevitable chanting for an encore erupted from the first few rows.

Surely enough, the band emerged from behind the stage; there were literally only a couple of minutes between the last note of "Sea Within A Sea" and the first note of "Count in Fives." The band entered the stage as swiftly as it had exited prior, and Badwan tore off his cropped denim jacket, and dove straight into material from the band's debut album, Strange House.

The crowd went mad. It was the most intense moment of the evening.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
Count me among those who came to the show legitimately wanting to experience The Horrors live.

By the way: Although the theater's "tweet-up" didn't unfold as planned, the band hung out behind the Granada before the show, taking photos with a few fans and signing miscellaneous pieces of merchandise.

Random Note: I noticed a Horrors Moleskine journal at the merch table and thought it was pretty neat. It was the first time I'd ever seen a customized band Moleskine, at the very least.

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