Pulled Apart By Horses + The Computers @ HMV Institute Library, Birmingham – 20th February 2012

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Pulled Apart By Horses


Review and Photos by Paul Broome

I’d been looking forward to this line-up since it was announced at the tale end of last year. Two of our best live bands on the same stage in one evening. What a treat.

Over the last twelve months The Computers have had the kind of gig schedule that would make most bands of grown men openly weep and collapse to the ground with apoplexy. All the more remarkable given the quantity of energy, sweat and sheer chutzpah that they throw into each and every performance. Surely it’s only a certain amount of time before front man Alex spontaneously combusts, or at the very least starts leaking steam from a ruptured windpipe. They hit the stage (to the sonorous tones of Johnny Cash) at full-pelt, and didn’t relent for the next 30 minutes. As usual, Alex finished the performance somewhere at the bottom of a self-induced pit (I saw him finally emerge from the crowd, limping heavily, about 10 minutes after the rest of the band had retired to the dressing room). The recent addition of a live keys player has also rounded out those rock’n’roll riffs even more, giving them an extra string to their already fully-loaded bow. They gave me no reason to doubt tonight the assertion I made after I last saw them that they are currently one of the best live bands in the country, and ergo The World (as everyone knows all the best bands are British).

So a tough act for the headliner to follow, but if anyone could do it then I’d put my money on four blokes from Leeds. After all, it takes the kind of person who could punch a lion in the throat to follow The Computers. And Pulled Apart By Horses didn’t waste any time in ratcheting up the already amped crowd – kicking off with that classic much loved track about big cat abuse, after front man Tom had arrived on stage with a particularly athletic roly-poly. The band cranked through the set – which featured tracks from both the eponymous debut and the recently released Tough Love. While the extreme vocal delivery style may unite the two bands on display tonight, the music couldn’t be further apart – where The Computers exhibit fun-time, pedal-to-the-metal punk rock’n’roll (of the variety originated by Rocket from the Crypt – minus the horns, of course) – PABH’s sound owes a lot more to both the grunge and post-hardcore bands which have gone before. That said though, they’ve managed to create something unique which takes the best aspects of both of those genres, while eschewing the worst. For example, grunge on the whole lacked personality and energy but PABH have both in bucket loads. Post-hardcore bands can be self-aggrandising and full of phoney intellectualism, PABH are down to earth and just out to have a good time. The honesty of both their sound and the inter-song banter is refreshing – and what’s more, they took the challenge laid down by the support band and ran with it.

Honestly, it should be illegal to have this much fun on a Monday night. The sweat was running down the walls of the Institute Library, my glasses were steaming up, and my guts were full of hard, fast, and heavy music. What a way to start the week.

View the rest of Paul’s shots in this here slideshow…