with Bo Ningen & Chickenhawk
100 Club, London
Having made a name for themselves through their relentless touring schedule over the past two years, by now Pulled Apart By Horses is a hulking beast of a live band. It seems strange that they are only just getting around to releasing a debut album, having already done so much without recording one. However, here we are, a week before the release of their first record, in another sweaty venue, preparing for yet another Pulled Apart By Horses performance.
Along for the ride this time are fellow Leeds noise mongers Chickenhawk, who kick off proceedings with a typically loud and engaging set. Drummer Matt Reid, in particular, is great to watch; thumping the life out of his kit one minute before stopping in an instant, only to jump down from his drum stool to continue the assault. Bo Ningen are just as relentless. While the Japanese band’s noisy psych-rock is undoubtedly the most divisive sound of the night, their animated performance and sheer volume of hair at least provide the crowd with plenty of entertainment.
By the time Pulled Apart by Horses bound onto the stage, though, there’s no doubting who the crowd are here to see. The band quickly tears into album tracks at double the speed of their past incarnations, yet the songs lose none of their strength or clarity. It dawns on me mid-set that the band doesn’t have a huge array of songs to draw from, yet this makes the tracks they do have all the more polished. Old singles and live favourites “Meat Balloon” and “I Punched a Lion in the Throat” typically go down best on the night, but the band’s overall performance is difficult to fault. They scale the walls, surf the crowd, and own the stage in a way few bands in the UK can come close. On the back of an album that documents this energy perfectly, Pulled Apart by Horses are once again the band to see this year.