Kicking off a weekend of festivities that is Live at Leeds, local Alt-Rock bunch Pulled Apart By Horses put on one killer blow of a gig at Leeds University's Stylus.
Together with Blackpool's Darlia who play the Brudenell Social Club this evening, the Horses gig is the first of many musical acts who are appearing across the city this Bank Holiday weekend as part of the festival. Leeds-born, they are something of an ideal choice to get everything underway and with their third album Blood released last year with much applause, there are plenty of fans here this evening – both local and loyal - ready to witness the boys play once again on their home turf.
Tonight's show includes songs from all three of their albums to date, demonstrating their progression as a band since their emergence in 2008, plus the ability to continually produce and deliver grimey, hard-edged rock. Singer / guitarist Tom Hudson produces high pitched vocals with a sound akin to many a heavy metal ensemble although the band's overall sound is far from this end of the rock spectrum. Indeed, with song titles such as Venom, Grim Deal and Skull Noir, you can certainly expect a level of dark typical of some hardcore outfits and yet the Horses present themselves as more playful, as if much of their grit is tongue in cheek. Hudson pre-empts Wolfhand with "This is a song about being a dick", and as the lyrics unfold, it clearly is a song about being a dick; the Horses don't take things too seriously, it seems.
It is very easy to see why PABH have become known for their full throttle, injury-prone stage shows. With ultra-long locks being thrashed around into a constant swirl, Hudson and bassist Robert John Lee look every bit the hardcore rockers, as does a shirtless and enthusiastic Tommy Davidson on drums. James Brown on lead guitar, looking way more ‘cool contemporary' in comparison, has an energy level which supersedes that even of his band mates as he jumps around and thrusts continually to each and every one of Davidson's crashing drum beats, his head looking likely to topple off of his shoulders at any point.
Leeds University is arguably one of the best long-standing music venues in Leeds and Stylus in particular proves the perfect spot for this bunch as their fans and band alike go crazy, from the moment they open with Hot Squash through to an encore of Fuck Yeah. Whether wholly involved in the mosh pit or up on the balconies, the entire audience – mostly with beard – are engaged throughout. Very difficult not to be, at a hard and fast gig like this one. Brown continuously tells us throughout the evening he loves Leeds; the feeling is most definitely mutual.
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