Live music is back and it feels so good. On a wet Wednesday evening, the baffling amalgamation of stoner, doom, shoegaze, hardcore and heaviness that is Sugar Horse rolled into London. Bringing Dawnwalker and Vandampire with them.
It’s the former I walked in on as they wrapped up their set inside the dark and comfy confines of the London 229. Not enough to really judge them, the two songs I heard were heavy enough to startle and interesting enough to want to hear more.
Dawnwalker are a popular choice as main support and are greeted with a loud cheer from the busy but not packed in crowd. Plenty of room to move even if their music hardly encourages it. What it does make you do is shake all over, it makes you bang your head and makes you feel like the building is about to come down around you. It’s a watchable and listenable 30 minutes that certainly wins them some new fans.
It’s all about Sugar Horse though, the Bristol group have only been on the scene since 2015 but have made impressive headway since. The 8-track headline show gets off to a strong start with the heavy pairing of Shouting Judas at Bob Dylan and Slam Dancing in a Burning Building but it’s the track that follows those that really gets my attention.
Have you even seen the episode of American Dad where Stan goes to get Hayley out of a My Morning Jacket concert? He gets into a scuffle and his ear-defenders fall out exposing him to the music. Once he hears it, he is transfixed and finds himself transported, feeling as though the band are playing to him alone. He ends up becoming a super-fan to the point where he can’t fathom the idea of listening to anything but My Morning Jacket.
Ok, the latter part is stretching it, but it’s this episode that jumped into my head as Sugar horse played Phil Spector in Hell. A simply phenomenal track that delivered an emotional, shoe-gazy experience that captivated me.
From that point on, I was sold with heavier, punchier numbers like Fat Dracula and Drugs fitting wonderfully alongside the more eclectic sounds of Richard Branson in the Sky with Diamonds and The Live Long After.
I went in knowing very little about this band and came away a fan. With one song, they made me feel and that’s a memory I’ll cherish.
Sugar Horse at 229, London (20/10/21)
Sugar Horse - 9/10
Dawnwalker - 7/10