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Still Life: The Horrors, The Stepkids @ Detroit Bar, Costa Mesa 9/13/11

“Under a sky, no one sees
Waiting, watching it happening
Don’t hurry, give it time
Things are the way they have to be.

Slow down, give it time.
Still life, you know I’m listening
The moment that you want is coming
If you give it time

When you wake up, when you wake up,
You will find me

Under a sky, no one else sees.
Your shape appears in front of me
The sky clears, the sun heats
I am here, waiting, it’s happening
The moment that you want is coming
If you give it time

When you wake up, when you wake up,
You will find me”

Sometimes the best advice comes from the music I listen to.

It was a long drive to Costa Mesa, and then a long wait to get into the venue that felt kinda Jay & Silent Bob-esque as we goofed off in a bizarre convenience store and were accosted by a drunk homeless man.

The Detroit Bar is a strange place; I couldn’t decide if I loved it or hated it by the time it was all said and done. All I know is that OC crowds are full of people I’d rather not attend shows with, generally speaking…rude behavior aplenty.

The Stepkids opened the show; friends in SF described them as psychedelic Bee Gees…my friends around me called it porn music…I’d have to agree and say that there’s not much to add to that, except that I kinda dug it while it made my friends wanna go to sleep. I liked how they draped everything on the stage in white, even the drum kit, and wore all white themselves. This turned them into a blank canvas for the projections to be viewed on. All three of them vocalized their harmonies, with this very funky, sex-laden playing filling out the show. It kinda felt like putting the cart before the horse with this bedroom music being the opening sound, because to me, the headliner’s music represents everything that happens before that part…

The Horrors came into my life at a bizarre time. Their first album, Strange House, was a lot of fun…but it was Primary Colours and seeing them live that turned me into a hardcore fan. They completely change and grow with each album, something that’s near impossible to pull off, while somehow keeping their essence. I have a different band that’s a favorite for different moods I have…I think The Horrors may create an album for each of those moods. When I first fell in love with The Horrors, it was when I walked away from my very safe, secure life to go after my dreams. And Primary Colours was the soundtrack to a lot of the daydreams that helped me think about what I want to get out of life.

Before The Horrors came on stage, the fog machine hanging to the left above the stage began to seep the smoke onto the crowd, and something malfunctioned and it spewed hot, oily fogjuice right onto a couple of our heads. It was not pleasant, and was a chaotic way to begin the set as we were bracing for the next exposure as the band played their first song. Luckily it stopped.

The band has such an interesting, undefinable energy about them. There’s the light, mod, poppy element to it that would be a turn off if it wasn’t always overshadowed by this punky goth gloominess. They somehow manage to be aloof and intense in their presence, which almost teases the crowd as they beg for attention. This crowd in particular started retaliating by slamming around. This is not the music to do that to. I did not expect it, so I wore a shirt that had about 20 little clasps along the front; by the end of it, my shirt was undone…an HRC first!

The set was about 50/50 from albums 2 and 3; no matter how irritatingly repetitive certain members of the crowd were in requesting album 1 material, we didn’t hear it. As any good frontman does, the lyrics felt confessional rolling off Faris’ tongue. When I wasn’t trying to keep myself upright or wiping sweat from my brow, I mouthed the words and tried to catch them in my hands as unseen pieces of advice, or feelings I desire to possess myself.

The new songs sound great, and as I expected, cemented themselves with me only after hearing them live. I had a hard time hearing some of the nuances in the guitar, and the slight ways they change the openings to some of the songs when they play them live. But for the most part, it was pure bliss, even when I got hit in the head with a beer bottle and had to kick someone in the shins…

And 48 hours later, I will do it all again.

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