HTRKEdit this event
The name HTRK may conjure up unholy images of some text-speak-named contrived new rave act, but the reality couldn't be further from that scary prospect. Coming on like a three-headed amalgam of The Young Gods, Einstürzende Neubauten and Michael Gira, their doom-laden, percussion-driven electro-slo’core is both preposterous and intoxicating in equal measures. Jonnine Standish closes their set amidst a piercing scream of "HATEROCK!", and they're gone. Hopefully it won't be too long before the Berlin-based Aussies are back on British shores.
In a different kind of way, Liars are also a daunting prospect in the flesh. Not that it has anything to do with any Germanic repetitive use of percussive beats, of course. Instead, we're just not sure which Liars are going to turn up this evening. Previous shows - and anyone who was here four years ago while the band were allegedly touring their They Threw Us All In A Trench... opus will know what I'm referring to - have tended to veer from the sublime to the ridiculous and occasionally just downright unlistenable. Baited breaths aplenty greet their entrance.
Having just released possibly their best – and most commercially accessible – record thus far, surely even the unpredictable nature of Angus Andrew and co. can't spoil tonight, right? Fortunately not. Instead, the tall vocalist is in playful mood right from the word go, hamming it up like John Cleese impersonating Jim Carrey and introducing every song with a themed title befitting of the location of tonight's show: 'Houseclouds' becomes 'Sherwood Forest Is A Clump Of Hair Beneath My Armpits' for one night only.
Strengthened to a four-piece for the duration of this tour – long-time associate and producer Jeremy Glover switches between bass and guitar duties – the extra man proves essential in the context of their live show as it frees up both Andrew and the hugely underrated Aaron Hemphill to flirt between all kinds of instruments and gadgets, Hemphill in particular playing everything with strings on to keys, samples, drums and even singing the lead vocal on standout moment of the set, 'Freak Out', with Andrew taking up bass duties.
As for the rest of the set, the band play a varied selection of material from their impressive back catalogue, a large proportion of which is taken from their current album and its predecessor Drum's Not Dead. In fact, the only real downside this evening is that the venue is less than half full.
However, on this showing, word of mouth from those in attendance should ensure a bigger turn-out next time. Enthralling.
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