Liars with HXXXS
Oct. 7, 2017 @ The Crocodile
By Graham Isaac
Dissolution and dispersal is a funny thing in art; when bands lose or add members, it can call into question the nature of the artists’ work, identity, and even integrity. For every band that essentially becomes a one-man show, there are groups that re-name themselves or disband over far smaller changes. (Imagine, if you will, the career ramifications if instead of going by Future of the Left, Andrew Falkous and Jack Egglestone had kept going by McLusky, but I digress.)
As the only remaining founding member of Liars, Angus Andrew has effectively taken on the mantle of one-man-band by releasing TFCF under the Liars moniker. While I’ve not spent quite enough time with the new record to render a judgement, I will say this: it both does and doesn’t sound like Liars.
So it was with curiosity that I and fellow celebrate-their-whole-discography fan Ryan (and our very patient girlfriends) approached their show at The Crocodile; we assumed it’d be heavy on the new stuff, a statement of purpose, an assertion of identity.
And it was those things – but not in the way I expected; TFCF showed up only a couple times, rather this read like a near-greatest hits outing. It absolutely crushed.
Andrew showed up in the bridal gown and veil featured on the cover of the latest record and played a synth/sequencer while looming ominously, abstract projections on the wall behind him. Backed by a drummer and another synth/guitar/bass (depending on the song) player, the band ripped through cuts from each of their albums; “Scarecrows on a Killer Slant” and “Scissor” from Sisterworld came early, while “Mess on a Mission”’s mid-show appearance drew one of the most fevered reactions from the bouncing crowd. As I’ve only seen them one other time, this whole set ended up feeling like a big slice of wish fulfillment for me, and evidenced by the crowd reactions, most of the room.
While they eschewed both “Other Side of Mount Heart Attack” and “No. 1 Against the Rush,” perhaps the two most recognizable indie-crossover staples, they more than made up for it by closing with “Broken Witch”; Andrew frothing and chanting and shouting, bringing the pagan ritual vibes to the forefront.
If there are any real complaints about the show, it’s that it’d have been good to hear more of the new record, to get a sense of those songs in the larger Liar’s discography. Lead single “Cred Woes” has near instant-classic status, and “Staring At Zero’s” swampy, beat driven lament was an appropriate return-to-stage (seriously though, when can we dispense with encores?) jam.
But it was clear that Angus Andrew wanted to re-stake his claim on his own discography, and live, at least, he’s done it.