Live: Les Savy Fav/Pulled Apart By Horses/Young Legionnaire (NME Awards Show), Heaven, 22/2/11
First up to the batting plate is prolific new-ish post-hardcore threesome Young Legionnaire. Of late, the band have been seen getting cosy with one of the more open-minded and forward-thinking of the indies, Wichita Recordings, and count a couple of indie-stars in their ranks regardless; on frontman and axe duties is singer/guitarist from The Automatic, Paul Mullen; on bass you have Gorden Moakes of Bloc Party fame; on drums you have Dean Pearson who, whilst may not be ‘out there’ as the former sticksman for the band William Bowerman (who currently skin bashes for La Roux as part of her touring outfit), is regardless tighter behind a kit than Frankenstein’s monster’s neck-bolts. The band tear through a 25 minute set, sampling songs from their forcoming debut Crisis Works to a condensed yet very much captivated spectatorship. Each member holds to their own in masterly quality; Millen, Moakes and Pearson each projecting powerful articulate tones with pin-point precision. To surmise that these guys currently embody all the best parts of the best kinds of three-piece rock bands – Placebo, Biffy Clyro (back in the day), Fall Of Troy – would not be amiss in this context. Great things and a bright future will surely follow on from this impressive performance.
Filling in middle slot (after spending a good stint from doors till their 8.15pm-ish stage time at the venue’s make-shift merch stand, peddling their wares hard) are Leeds noise merchants Pulled Apart By Horses. These boys have been on quite a journey over the course of the last 3 years; from a vital 7″single release on Oxford-based Big Scary Monsters way back in 2008 to a sweet album deal with London-based Transgressive last year, the one constant in the progression of PABH’s career to date is the intensity and ferocity of their happy-go-lucky blend of hardcore shows. Performing a set consisting of the finest tunes lifted from their debut self-titled album – High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive, Yeah Buddy and Meat Balloon all going off without a hitch – as well as treating the now-heaving crowd to new tune Venom, lead guitarist James Brown even has time to romance an otherwise bemused stage security guy. This show is examplary of what Pulled Apart are all about – going fucking mental in the friendliest way possible.
However, as much as we are enthralled by the theatrical display of British rock talent on tonight’s bill, as with most NME Awards show, the main attraction is really the only reason the vast majority of those in attendance have bothered to make it out on this particularly nippy February evening. Admittedly, prior to this show, we were Les Savy Fav live virgins, and thus we are doubly excited to see Tim Harrington, his beard, and his band casually strutting on stage. Rumbling through a varied setlist comprised of tunes lifted from last year’s effort Root For Ruin to golden oldies like The Cat & The Cobra, the focus of the audience’s attention, as it should be, is focused firmly on Harrington. So dynamic is this hero among men that one minute he will be sailing (quite literally) through the crowd on a flightcase to ascend on a raised metal platform on the back-right of the venue’s main arena, raising queries from bemused near-byers as to how exactly he intends to get back to the stage, to producing enough glowsticks to assault the crowd with that it makes Agincourt look like a minor tossing contest (they in turn return fire with the same arsenal, to which the band humbly request they target “anywhere but the[ir] face[s]”). By the time they are done, not one person in Heaven this even is left with a smile on their face that measures under a mile wide.
Words: Achal Dhillon
Pictures: Dan Smyth (The 405 – http://thefourohfive.com/reviews/3717)