Pulled Apart By Horses @ Dogfish shop-in-shop launch party

Even before the intro for the inaugural song has subsided to give way to its beefy riff main body, Pulled Apart By Horses’ axe-man James Brown has haphazardly toppled into his amp set-up, sending heavy guitar rig equipment crashing to the floor. An enthusiastic cheers emanates from the bemused crowd, who are crammed awkwardly into this most strange of gig spaces. Indeed, the makeshift barriers that have seemingly been placed randomly to stop any fervent followers of the band spilling over exorbitant equipage, give the Dogfish Menswear shop an almost assertory air of authority. An authority that is soon broken by the action onstage.

Starting with the aforementioned collapsing of the guitar rig, composure is soon regained, and Pulled Apart By Horses rip through their set, peppered with songs from their newly released self-titled album. ‘Back To The Fuck Yeah,’ with its palpitating guitar lines and its shrieking, soaring vocals, provides an obvious highlight to the set, but a highlight all the same. ‘We’re playing in a jeans shop!’ exclaims bassist Rob Lee, clearly bewildered by his band’s gig’s unconventional setting.

Midway through the delectably titled ‘I’ve Got Guest List To Rory O’Hara’s Suicide,’ singer Tom Hudson clambers on top of the front barrier, nothing but an air-conditioning unit to steady his balance with, before deciding to test the length of his microphone cord and diving headlong into the moshpit. After running riot for as far as he can through the baying fans, he climbs a handily placed wall-mounted clothes rack, ever so slightly tearing it from its fixings, and heads back for the stage. But not before pausing for a second to empty the contents of his stomach over the other wise cleanly Dogfish shop floor (and this reviewer’s left shoe). Obviously a live force to be reckoned with, this act only goes to exemplify just how much this band exert themselves onstage, and why they are quickly establishing themselves as one of Britain’s best live bands. It’s also pretty punk and rock ‘n’ roll and cool and that.

Obligatory set closer ‘I Punched A Lion In The Throat’ see the intensity of the moshpit reach fever pitch, and in the clamour of the song’s noisy intro, James hands his guitar to the animated assembly, which is clutched at manically, before he jumps in himself to reclaim it, and spends a refrain of the song lurching about the throng, bashing out riffs as considerate fans struggle to keep him plugged in and audible. Another chaotic ensemble of noise and the set is over, and the Norwich crowd are left to pick up the piece and take note of what they have just witnessed. It is unlikely an instore gig will ever be this riotous ever again, and Pulled Apart By Horses have certainly proved to be one of the most exhilarating live bands I have seen in a long, long time. A truly anarchic performance.

Alex Nelson

All photography by Greg Holland

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