Next month marks the 30th anniversary of me and RPM’s Nev Brooks attending gigs together, our itinerary starting back in November 1989 when we were lucky enough to catch a just about to break big Mudhoney annihilate a packed to the rafters Bristol Bierkeller. Also on the bill that night, the cosmic psychedelia of The Telescopes, and in many ways tonight’s show bears more than just the odd striking similarity to that most memorable of first date nights.
It’s not just the fact that three decades on Brooks is somehow still putting up with my antics but that tonight’s show also perfectly blends those punk rock/psychedelia genres once again. Tonight is also long since sold out as two years on from the release for their excellent ‘The Haze’ album Leeds based rockers Pulled Apart By Horses look to premiere brand new songs from their yet to be recorded fifth studio album by playing a series of fourteen shows across the UK in some the most intimate venues they’ve played in years.
It’s great to see Le Pub’s live room packed out for the arrival of local openers Dactyl Terra (geddit?) too, a trio who in turn proceed to deliver a size ten alt-rock boot up the arse of all the UK bands who currently think it’s cool to wear cowboy hats and wax their facial hair whilst worshiping at the temple of 70s and 80s hard rock dinosaurs (sorry I couldn’t resist it).
Which also rather tenuously brings me to tour main support, Baba Naga. This trio is already renowned as Sheffield’s finest exponents of pagan doom and are also a band I quite often see being compared to… ahem Pink Floyd. So, whilst there’s certainly a few quieter Floyd-like transient moments during tonight’s all too brief 30 minute set, for me the Babas have much more in common with the aforementioned Telescopes or perhaps ‘Gravity Grave’ era The Verve whilst at their more rockier moments they actually kind of remind me of The Heads from just over the other side of the river Severn.
There’s no between song Baba banter just the sound of their intro tape looping away like some kind of hypnotic mantra and as a result I have no idea what songs the guys played tonight, I just found that I had this compelling urge to go buy myself a Baba Naga tour kaftan at the end of their set…ha!
Owning all of the Pulled Apart By Horses albums but never actually having seen them live before tonight I really wasn’t too sure what to expect as the band stepped up onto Le Pub’s legendary low stage, and I must admit my first impressions weren’t that positive at all. Opening with new track ‘Pipe Dream’ singer Tom Hudson complete with matching black jacket and ¾ length trousers (keeping his ankles cool obviously) seemed kind of uninterested in the events at hand exuding an almost Kasabian-like arrogant swagger, that is until the track suddenly changed pace half way through and he instantly transformed into one of my new favourite frontmen, marching through the packed crowd mic in hand barking out lyrical orders to his devoted followers, he is now equal parts Iggy Pop and Matt Caughtran.
‘First World Problems’ quickly follows and this along with ‘Rinse & Repeat’ aired later on after two cuts from ‘The Haze’ are the perhaps the immediate hits from the (I think?) eight new tracks played tonight, something that is never an easy thing to do, but all of them seem to go down well with the Horses faithful.
The superb 3 minute pop punk anthem ‘V.E.N.O.M’ is thankfully still in the set being the first song I ever heard by the band back in 2011 on Radio 6 Music and closing things out tonight we have the old school debut album mayhem of ‘High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive’ and ‘Punched A Lion In The Throat’ to send everyone home drenched in sweat.
Of course I’d have liked to have heard some tracks like the immense ‘Hot Squash’ from ‘Blood’ slotted into tonight’s set, but you know what, the new stuff worked just fine and this must be the first time, since I witnessed The Bronx preview the whole of ‘Bronx IV’ live long before its release, that such a feat was done with so much aplomb.
I leave Le Pub totally euphoric with what I have just witnessed, and its gigs like this that will always have me bowling back to the car arms laden with merch ready to tell the world what they have been missing out on.
Pulled Apart By Horses were fucking phenomenal tonight – FACT!
Author: Johnny Hayward