LIVE REPORT: Liars In Paris

Angus Andrew and the Bateh twins bring a magnificent, pulverising Liars’ greatest hits set to the Maroquinerie in Paris.

Aside from the odd municipal poster carrying the words “Fluctuat nec mergitur” it feels like any other winter day in Paris. The Latin dictum means “tossed by the waves but never sunk”, and while the city is nowhere near the sea, it’s been Paris’ motto since 1358 apparently. Those words have been conspicuous since the terrorist atrocities of two years ago, and they’re back today on the anniversary of the attack on the Bataclan, lest we forget. Commemorations are low-key, aside from a conspicuous and grating two-song acoustic performance this afternoon at the 11th arrondissement mairie by Jesse Hughes of Eagles Of Death Metal; surely no man’s stock in abundant goodwill has plummeted so far in this fair city since the days of Robespierre.

A band who will always be welcome back here are Liars. With their eighth studio album, they’ve fragmented to the point where there is just one Liar left, Angus Andrew. It almost makes the lie even better. But to suggest it’s all Angus out there doing it on his own would be a lie too – he’s ably backed by the Bateh twins, Blaze and Reid, for live shows. Reid hovers at the back bringing all sorts of sonic augmentation to proceedings; Blaze attacks in full view, his extraordinary drumming wired into the noise around him. To have such sensitivity and be such a brute at the same time is unusual.

And then there’s Angus, a giant amongst men, literally and figuratively. He appears in a tutu, muscle vest, delicate fingerless cotton gloves and full wedding veil. If there’s a sense that a band as great as Liars will always be the metaphorical bridesmaid, then Andrew is having none of it. Any nerves associated with the sombre anniversary are dispensed with as soon as opener ‘Drum Gets A Glimpse’ is pulverised out of the way by ‘Coins In My Caged Fist’, and everything kicks off.

Angus seems to have stepped straight from the cover of new album TFCF. Superb though that album is, not much of it is played tonight – probably for the best given that it leans towards heavy introspection. There’s ‘Coins’, the magnificent ‘Emblems Of Another Story’ appears in the encore, the glitchy dance sludge of ‘Staring At Zero’ makes an outing towards the end of the set, sounding anthemic in a live scenario, and the disco weirdness of ‘Cred Woes’ makes an appearance (a song which, dare I say it, has an Odelay-era Beck vibe to it, although again in a live context it’s so much harder). Otherwise it’s a greatest ‘hits’ affair, with a new vitality brought to many of the tracks.

‘Mess On A Mission’ is bonkers compared with its 2014 recorded version, with the “facts are facts and fiction’s fiction” refrain becoming a defiant chant at the outro that’s perfect for our nonsense times. Meanwhile ‘Mr You’re On Fire Mr’ is funkier and more attacking than ever, ‘Plaster Casts Of Everything’ is punk as fuck and ‘Brats’ is as intrepid and irresistible as it is on WIXIW. There is something for everyone, although by everyone I obviously mean the select bunch of weirdos who’ve made the trip out to the Maroquinerie sweatbox to be tossed about by music waves while doing their best to remain unsunk. A band as amazing as Liars should by rights be playing the AccorHotels Arena down the road, but for purely selfish reasons it’s so much better that they’re not.

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