There was an air of excitement in this small Islington venue as Whyte Horses stunned a great audience with the unveiling of their mysterious line-up for their first UK performance.
Walking on stage first were two Egyptian dressed female backing singers in gold headdresses who also added great percussion elements. Someone commented that it seemed like they had raided a school music room for percussion instruments with xylophones, cymbals, melodica and all kinds of shakers and wood blocks percussive instruments. The enigmatic French singer known only as ‘Julie’ revealed herself as a Pauline Quirke kind of lady in a sort of Mayan indian poncho and giant sunglasses, it was not what anyone expected but was very cool in that respect. The rest of the band including renowned record collector Dom Thomas was a rag tag set of Mancunian guys looking slightly disheveled in tracksuits and casual gear. With a back drop of paisley covered drums, deep red lighting and sets of flowers strewn on stage, the scene was set for a night of out there great pop-psychedelia.
The band opened with the two tracks from their debut single, hypnotic B-side ‘Morning Clouds’ and then the gorgeous A-side ‘The Snowfalls’. It was a great live difference from the record, a little bit more raw and spontaneous with other instruments taking over some of the instruments on the record, Xylophone instead of keyboard for example. It was great to hear it live. Thomas’ guitar bends and licks laced over everything keeping a busy and varied backdrop of percussion in line. There was a lot of great tom work and breaks for just tambourine shaking which the contrast of was really satisfying. These two tracks went down really well and the goodness only continued with purely engaging and wicked tracks. Some leant more to the psych of Velvet Underground, others conjuring early nineties Americana Underground bands, others more with a Manc garage rock swagger, one had a great time change with a heavy guitar outburst of speed.
This kind of psych-pop seems to be getting popular at the moment and Whyte Horses could just be on the crest of the wave.