Heaven – 27th October
Angus Andrew, the 6’6” Australian frontman and sole remaining original member of Liars, enters the stage dressed in a wedding gown, a veil over his face. For a band who’ve built a career on confounding expectations this doesn’t seem unexpected.
For the next hour he prowls the stage, a wild bride taking us on a masterful but manic tour through the band’s greatest hits. It’s an exhilarating pre-Halloween ride, a reminder that they might just be the most underrated band of the last 20 years.
Theirs is a long, prolific, often paradoxical career through myriad styles and shifts in sound. Now working solo after Aaron Hemphill left, but now supported live by the “beautiful” brothers Blaze and Reid Bateh – Andrew created last album TFCF in self-imposed isolation. The departure of his creative partners also explains his elaborate, eye-catching stage garb. “I felt like I was married to Aaron creatively, and now that he is gone I am alone in my wedding dress,” he’s said.
It seems he’s enjoying being back among the congregation. Throughout tonight’s career spanning set there’s a feeling that Angus has been reinvigorated since the creative divorce. Across 17 years, they’ve remained one step (and another world away) from their peers: avant-garde, chameleonic and always a little weirder. From Punk-funk to drone-dance; existentialist rock, to disquieting synth pop, no two Liars albums truly sound alike, each album dissimilar but somehow catalysing the next.
This set which draws from nearly all these albums and myriad styles, showing a line of brilliance drawing all these disparate ideas together. This is a raucous, unhinged set. It’s so good to hear ‘Mr You’re On Fire Mr’ from their debut, an unhinged post punk banger that hits hard just as it feels it’s about to fall apart at the seams. It sounds just as wild and electrifying as it did nearly two decades ago.
Throughout the show he grabs at the dress, pulling at it frantically in time with the beats that reverberate down the arch of the venue, as the trio dive right into their brilliantly diverse back catalogue. ‘It Fit When I Was A Kid’ still a disquieting, percussion heavy tribal chant, ‘Brats’ still a brilliantly sleek yet jagged piece of emotive electronica, ‘Plaster Casts of Everything” still brutally, brilliantly wild, ‘Mess On A Mission” still hysterically deranged dance. New tracks like the incendiary ‘Cred Woes’ fit effortlessly into the set until the crowd become a seething, jumping mass by the end.
He doesn’t speak much to the crowd until the closing moments -as he tells us that everyone in this room is special. It feels like we’re witnessing a band who have reignited their spark. A band and a man rejuvenated, dressed in a wedding dress. It feels like the honeymoon is just beginning.