The Cellar was thrumming with anticipation last Wednesday as Pulled Apart By Horses paid a visit to Southampton’s Guildhall Square venue, still hot from the pressing of their sophomore album Tough Love. This is a band on top of their game at the moment and the performance from Messrs. Hudson, Brown, Lee and Vincent was electric and energetic from the start.
The band exploded onto the scene only two years ago with their self-titled debut. Its raucous guitar, visceral screaming and irreverent lyrics were just right for these troubled times and this formula has remained in their new material. Though the set list jumped from album to album, the transition was seamless from one noisy track to the next, and coupled with a crowd of several hundred squeezed into the small venue, the atmosphere was sweatily intimate. The real crowd-pleasers came towards the end: two new songs, ‘V.E.N.O.M.’, which took radio by storm at the end of last month, and ‘Wolf Hand’, whose driving riff was enough to provoke wild headbanging and several crowd-surfers.
With everyone crammed into such a small space, and a flight of stairs emerging in the middle of the floor, it’s a wonder the fans all came out in one piece from the maelstrom. For the band, the heat was unbearable and they were soon naked to the waist and leaping into the crowd themselves. Between this and the band’s witty inter-song chutzpah, it’s clear that their self-confidence is on a high as 2012 searches for its musical icon.
This gig could be a very important one for the too-often-neglected Cellar. Along with other high-profile acts such as The Devil Wears Prada and InMe, it was moved from the Talking Heads after its shock closure in January. This series of gigs could be a windfall to the Cellar as it seeks to establish itself on the Southampton gigging circuit.
And though moving everyone to a smaller venue with a big hole in the floor might not be to the liking of health and safety officials, the atmosphere was one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. Both venue and band came together here to produce a fantastic show, and having had a thorough look at Tough Love last month for The Edge, I can’t say I expected anything less.