Pulled Apart by Horses spent the best part of 2013 writing their 3rd studio album and may have found themselves experiencing a degree of cabin fever, as they couldn’t wait to get back out on the road and “get sweaty” with the fans again. They announced a 19 date UK warm up tour and the Stoke gig was the 8th date of the tour.
Supporting the headline act were Peterborough 3-piece, The Wytches. They snuck on stage without any fuss or preamble and had already begun the intro to their opener ‘Digsaw’ before a lot of the crowd noticed they had gone on! They soon captured the audience’s attention with their blend of dark surf rock/psychedelic grunge and riffs that frontman Kristian Bell describes as his “Egyptian-y style scale”. Bell’s vocals are emotive and almost tortured at times, giving this popular band a sound of their own. They ripped through the 7-song set having no interaction with the crowd between songs apart from the occasional muttered; “cheers” from Bell, but this just seemed to add to their cool edge. The set included ‘Gravedweller’, from the EP of the same name, which was laden with the afore-mentioned Egyptian-y riffs and heavy drum beats, and the haunting, emotional ‘Wide at Midnight’ from the same EP. The last song was the single ‘Crying Clown’, another slower number full of angst and emotion. Towards the end the song became heavier and the strobe lights kicked in to accompany the band moshing away which was a great, intense ending to the set.
After we’d had a little time to recover Pulled Apart by Horses took to the stage to loud applause and kicked straight into the hard and fast ‘E=MC Hammer’. The 4 Leeds-based guys seemed to fill the stage right away with James Brown throwing his guitar around and jumping on the raised platforms at front of stage, and frontman Tom Hudson jumping around and getting the crowd involved. The strobe lights were used intensely throughout which added to the frantic atmosphere. A small mosh pit of sorts began to form during the first couple of songs, but it didn’t really turn into a proper pit until the 3rd number, ‘V.E.N.O.M.’; a brutal screamo track which was released as a single in 2011 from the Tough Love album. Next up was a new song, ‘Hot Squash’ which calmed things down a bit but Brown got everyone clapping along then they launched into crowd favourite ‘I Punched a Lion in the Throat’ which saw the immediate return of the pit. The security guard had to step in at one point and have a word with a couple of guys in the crowd but it was all very good-natured and they ended up hugging the guard! We had heard that things could become a little bit hairy at PABH’s shows but luckily there was no trouble tonight.
The energy and interaction continued and everyone seemed to be having a great time. Before ‘High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive’ Brown went along the front of the stage giving people in the audience high fives and during the song Hudson jumped off stage and continued playing and singing in the middle of the crowd who all started moshing around him. He jumped back on stage for ‘I Wanna be Your Dog’ (Iggy Pop cover) and the set came to a close with ‘Den Horn’ from their self-titled debut album. Hudson decided to perform some of the song whilst walking (well, crouching) along the bar at the side of the venue then he was crowd surfed back to the stage. When it was all over I heard a guy standing next to me say; “what a set!” and I had to agree- it was a great show full of passion and energy, mixing up old favourites with new songs that were really well received. All the band members put 100% into this excellent show, and I think we may have discovered where Tom gets his mysterious bruises from…
1) E=MC Hammer
2) Meat Balloon
4) Hot Squash
5) I Punched a Lion in the Throat
6) Degeneration Game
8) Wild Fire, Smoke and Doom
9) Grim Deal
10) Some Mothers
11) Bag of Snakes
12) High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive
13) I Wanna be Your Dog
14) Den Horn
Review: Rachel Mc