Horsebeach (Ryan Kennedy)

Horsebeach (Ryan Kennedy)


It’d be easy to pigeonhole Horsebeach into the indie LA beach rock style category (there’s a lot of that knocking about now) but he’s much deeper than that. The new LP, Beauty & Sadness, continues a Horsebeach trend of combining harrowing lyrics and jangly, poppy guitars. Tonight, in Salford’s Sacred Trinity Church, he’s launching the new record with his live outfit at a sold-out show to 150 lucky punters.

Outside the church doors there are hordes of normal people transforming into maniacs during their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations; but inside, the atmosphere is much mellower. The church pews are still out with people sitting down on them chatting quietly, there’s a make-shift bar and candles are lit all around the venue. No stage tonight – the band set up their equipment on the floor where the alter would usually be: it’s the definition of intimate.

Following first support act Kieran Dobson, Kyotoya come on stage and their guitars begin ringing around the building – no added reverb needed. There’s aggression in both Kyotoya’s throaty vocalists, their music can be intricate but in moments soars into noisy shoegaze rock – it’s a little bit like watching Real Estate doing covers of Brand New songs.

After a problem with playing the atmospheric album opener ‘Theme for Beauty’, Horsebeach go “fuck it”, and begin their set with lead single and second track on the new album, ‘Alone’. The breezy guitars echo around the high-ceilinged venue, but Ryan Kennedy’s voice cuts through the reverberation. Kudos to the sound guys – the band sound brilliant even in the spatial Sacred Trinity Church.

Horsebeach’s knack for writing catchy tunes becomes evident as the live outfit continue to make their way through tracks from the new LP. The band play their brand of breezy beach rock, with a touch of psych thrown in – the guitars have a good measure of faze and chorus added throughout the performance.

Just when you think Horsebeach are going to play a set made up entirely of tracks from the new album, they tell the crowd: “OK we’re going to play the hits, or at least what we consider the hits”. They break into ‘It’s Alright’ and the crowd softly sing back to the band for the first time.

After asking the sound guys how tight Sacred Trinity Church’s curfew is, the crowd are allowed to pick what Horsebeach will encore with. They play ‘Andy’, from second album II, to end the whole thing and again the crowd sing along. You wouldn’t realise the lyrics people are singing along to are so harrowing, because of how much joy Horsebeach bring with the live performance.

It’s a wonderful thing Horsebeach’s juxtaposition between summery guitars and sorrowful lyrics. Tonight is reflective of that – the Sacred Trinity Church is a beautiful place and the music inside this evening is blissful; but deep down you know it’s still raining outside.

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James Power

When resisting the urge to put on the new Radiohead album for the one-billionth time, I try to keep my music listening as eclectic as possible.I was the clichéd skinny jeans & Strokes t-shirt clad indie kid in school clad and have never really grown out of that. Since starting university in 2012 I’ve got into lots of electronic, house, techno music and finding it very addicting. Favourites include Jon Hopkins, Todd Terje and Nicolas Jaar. Very recently I’ve been getting into old shoegaze bands like My Bloody Valentine, Ride & The Jesus and Mary Chain. I’ll have probably found something new by next week. Anything Thom Yorke puts his name to is one constant though.I’m a lover of CDs (probably because as a student I can’t quite afford vinyl) and my 250+ strong collection seems to be growing exponentially. If we discussed the pros and cons of physical music compared to streaming and how we consume music today, I could bore you for hours.Soup Kitchen is my spiritual home.I’ve pledged to take a review a month of an artist that I know nothing about, so sometimes I might sound like an idiot.