HEALTH like to take their time. Their third studio album Death Magic was released this summer a full 6 years after their sophomore effort hit the shelves. Granted, in between then they released a remix album of their second LP and a full soundtrack to the computer game Max Payne, but they haven’t released any actual new HEALTH albums in an age. Despite this, tonight is the third time I’ve seen them this year, but it’s the first time I’m seeing a headline act. They supported Interpol at the Albert Hall in February before any hint on new music had been dropped, then I saw them play the superlative Primavera festival in Barcelona in May when we knew something new was coming but hadn’t heard it properly, and now here we are in October, new album in tow and ready to go.

Now you may have heard some reports that HEALTH had gone soft, gone a bit electro-pop, gone a bit light hearted. Well within 10 seconds of them coming on stage tonight, all those thoughts are blown away, banished to the ‘don’t be stupid’ comment section, because you don’t just watch a HEALTH show, you feel it. The strobe lights pummel my eyes, and the absolute thrash noise that  makes up opener ‘Zoothorns’ assaults my ears and runs from the floor right through my entire body; it’s a gloriously disorientating start to the show that sets the tone nicely. Even when HEALTH are playing nicely, like on the immense electro-throbber ‘Die Slow’, the whole sound penetrates my very being, reverberating through my veins and making my brain fizz with delight. And the drums! Oh my God the drums! It sounds like there’s an entire military tattoo hammering away on stage at some points, with both guitarists joining in at various points with floor toms as drummer BJ Millar absolutely beats the shit out of the kit with such incredible precision that my mind boggles to think how he’s keeping up.

They play a fair whack from their new album, from the brilliant single ‘New Coke’ to the pulsating electro of ‘Stonefish’. When they start to play ‘Dark Enough’, the whole venue is bathed in red lights, making Gorilla feel like an industrial night club in deepest Berlin, as Jake Duzsik’s almost boyband-esque vocals soar above the crowd, asking us ‘does it make a difference if it’s real, as long as I still say I love you?’, a juxtaposition to the Depeche Mode through a mangler music glitching behind him. And then they play their most divisive song, the song that prompted some of the reports that HEALTH has lost their edge. ‘Life’, let’s face it, sounds a bit out of place here, but bloody hell it’s an incredible piece of Pet Shop Boys electro-pop that as a stand alone single could even get played on Radio 1’s daytime shows, it’s that good.

Just as you think they might whip out a Chvches cover or something, they launch straight into ‘We Are Water’, all chainsaw guitars and pounding drums, the lights flashing red and blue like the immediate aftermath of a crime scene with all the emergency services turning up, and once again everything is right with the world. HEALTH return to the stage for ‘one more song’, a comedy encore 30 second thrash that leaves the crowd with broad smiles plastered across their battered faces. People don’t just come to watch HEALTH; they come to feel HEALTH.

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