LIVE: Sorry / Wünderhorse, The Jazz Café, Camden, London, 21/06/2022
It’s a hot and sticky summer Tuesday. The cost of living is oppressive, the prices of utilities are obscene, workers must strike to protest their rights and wages, and the trains entering London and below its streets are silent. The roads are jammed with traffic and the air is laden with fumes. The heat stings with road rage and you cut yourself like knives in your throat.
In the little Jazz Café on the promenade near Dublin Castle, angry young upstarts gather to drink expensive beer and watch punks tear it up.
Apologies if you thought this was accidentally a Pistol review, you’re posting in the wrong place; it’s 2022, not 1976, but this country is still screwed. Get angry, destroy.
However, the drummer of the fictionalized version of sex guns in the aforementioned television program is on the stage before us. Jacob Slateronce of pretty deadis now in its solo incarnation wonder horse, and what stallion it is.
It couldn’t be further from the beginning of the punk band he represents, although Paul Cook was a competent drummer, as Jacob and the band are virtuosos. On the first pieces of the set, the brilliant ‘Poppy’ and ‘Butterflies’Slater looks like Bruce Springsteen to face the verve around 1993, which is a very good thing. On more moderate efforts such as ‘Teal’and the unplayed single ’17’, there is a start element doveswhich is a nice change of pace between what is an intense and cerebral live performance to the finale of ‘Epilogue’ knocked the doors off their hinges. Quite the opening act. First album Lion cub released in September on Maccabees’ Felix White’s Yala Records label.
If you like to cheat and check previous setlists bands have played while on tour, then you might have seen that sorry debuted with a glut of new songs and this date, which is a delayed night from last November, wraps up a nationwide tour that seems to lead into LP2. For eagle eyes, on the screen above their heads that projected images from videos and other stills throughout the concert, repeatedly displayed a tombstone with a date that remained a little more a long time when the band left the stage. There was a date; 7/10/22, suggesting that’s when the album will arrive. They like to drop subtle hints regularly. At the end of each video treatment, there’s usually a snippet of the next single sped up to comedic heights. This is normally only apparent in retrospect as you have no idea what a new song will sound like.
Unless you’re paying attention tonight, where the handful of new songs break away and add extra emphasis to the ones we’ve known and loved from their debut album, 925 and other singles and EPs.
Unlike previous tours, it feels like Sorry has made a breakthrough. Even at other concerts in the hometown, even though they sold out, some crowd members weren’t completely convinced. Tonight looks like an excited crowd ready for anything. Of course, Sorry never had the chance to shoot their first album. Released on March 27, 2020, the second Friday of the first Covid lockdown, everything that should have happened around the release couldn’t. All visits have been canceled or postponed. They were supposed to play a number of gigs at the end of 2021, but that was pushed back to accommodate the recording of the new LP. And here we are.
Clearly, the time afforded by confinement in our homes has allowed the record to get under people’s skin, cuts like ‘Starstruck’, ‘Perfect’, ‘At Sunset’, ‘Rock ‘n’ Star’ and ‘Lies’ are greeted with joyful abandon. It looks like an event; that Sorry has come to another level of the music industry mountain.
What made it extra special was that the new ones sounded big and fresh with a lighter touch in some cases. Whereas 925 could be dark, a bit seedy and melancholy, ‘Let the Lights On’, ‘Tell Me’, ‘Screaming in the Rain’, ‘Key to the City’ and, of course, the new single, ‘There are so many who want to be loved ‘ were brighter, maybe a bit more pop. It wouldn’t be sorry if there wasn’t a benefit for them yet. ‘Closer’ was classic black-soaked Sorry.
It was a testament to the crowds that they managed to get there at all, even those in the capital couldn’t rely on the metro. There didn’t seem to be a surplus of attendees and it was probably because of, not in spite of, the public transportation issues that everyone wanted to have a good time. It was never in doubt when Sorry took the stage, but even they were apparently thrilled. More of this please. Except for all the pieces of shit outside these walls right now. They can get the hell out of here for good.