After having played in countless territories since their last gig here, Pulled Apart By Horses are back on the French soil, stronger than ever and with a new record.
Intimidated? Worried? Not really, no. These English boys know what they are doing. They sure have acquired some experience by playing gigs pretty much everywhere. We’re almost wondering what kind of drugs they’re using in order to be able to play about 20 gigs in 22 days (and if you think they go straight to bed after their gigs, then you’re wrong! They also party hard!) Obviously, at three dates away from the end of the European tour, we can feel their fatigue, but “the show must go on” as some might say.
We arrive at La Flèche d’Or, an old train station now converted into a venue. The band has played here before, in 2008 with their friends Grammatics (who sadly didn’t survive the crisis that is currently affecting the music industry). They have fond memories of it, and they’re excited to come back.
The first mistake of the night goes to myself, for not having the intelligence to check the stage times for tonight’s show. That’s how I missed most of Turbowolf’s set while I was eating pizza in the hotel right in front of the venue.
Just imagine how sad I was when I realise the background music is the band playing “A Rose For The Crows,” my favourite Turbowolf song. I suddenly realise that I have missed most of the set.
I try to hide my disappointment by dancing during the other songs. In the middle of the crowd, people are going crazy. The audience (mostly men) are kissing each other (like real French kisses!!), then they start carrying other people and turn the pit into a real 3D version of Twister. Some of them are visibly big fans of the band and they let themselves be known. The result makes Chris quite happy. He often lets people sing some lyrics from time to time, and it works!
The band, from Bristol, is about to end their last gig with Pulled Apart By Horses. We can feel some emotion in the air, and we can also see that one of the band members is wearing a PABH t-shirt. Half of the crowd is going crazy when… oh surprise!, Tom Hudson comes on stage to sing a little bit. The set finishes with an epic “Let’s Die”. People are sweating, shouting and most of all, they’re all having a good time. It’s just a shame that they were the first band to play that night.
What will be a shame is also the promoter’s choice for the next band. We don’t really understand why French band Johnny Boy is here, and why they’re the second band to play. They were an easily forgettable set which let us breathe a little and have some beer at the bar. Maybe that was the real reason of their presence: to make people drink as much beer as they could, and also to bring more people to the show (like the band’s friends.) Well done, la Flèche d’Or, well done!
It was 10.30pm when Pulled Apart By Horses gets on stage. Even if though the venue is as hot as a sauna, two of the band members still manage to wear black t-shirts (James will soon tell us that it wasn’t the best choice he’s made. As for Rob, well, we forgive him: it was a Gay For Johnny Depp T-shirt).
The set starts with the now classic “I Punched a Lion In The Throat”. The audience is jumping a little, but not as much as during Turbowolf’s set. It’s another proof that they played way too soon.
“Wolfhand” makes its appearance as soon as the band plays the last note of the previous song. The audience has no time to breathe. Announced as the 2nd single from Tough Love, this song is here to show the most sceptical people what Pulled Apart By Horses is really capable of. No, they’re definitely not a punk band for young ladies.
When the band started to play “Get Off My Ghost Train”, the audience suddenly woke up. Tom doesn’t hesitate to go into the pit if people ever start sleeping again. During the set, we clearly see the difference between the two records. The second record is more structured than the previous one; the band has definitely grown up over the last few months.
The good thing about Pulled Apart By Horses is that they play relatively short songs, so it’s quite easy for them to play 15 songs without being too boring for Parisian people.
By this point of the set, the band gets to some of their oldest stuff. “E=MC Hammer” and “The Crapsons” always gives you the energy you need in order to get through the night. The longtime PABH fans are happy, even if “Yeah Buddy” remains the big hit that’s missing on the setlist.
After an epic run through of “High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive”, the band takes a break. It’s not easy to make people shout for an encore after such an energetic set. At this point, most people want to go home and have a bath.
But it would be a mistake to stop the set now, right? That’s why the band is comes back to play a Nirvana cover (“Tourettes”), which goes well with the Kurt Cobain poster in the venue.
Even if “Back To The Fuck Yeah” was mentioned on the setlist, it’s actually “Den Horn” that will be played as the last song tonight. This song gives the crowd a 7-minute-riffgasm that we wish would never end.
Washed out, tired, sweaty yet very happy, the audience goes home in a very calm and peaceful way, as if the gig has emptied them from their anger and energy. Who would have thought Pulled Apart By Horses would be a great band to watch after a stressful day at work?