The Horrors are a goth-ish quintet from London that play creaky, creepy garage-rock in the tradition of Screamin’ Lord Sutch or the Cramps. They’ve become rather infamous in the U.K. for their frantic live shows, their meteoric rise to fame (their discography consists of an EP and some singles), and, most recently, their unique manner of dress, which could best be summarized as “Dandy Goth” (tighter-than-tight trousers, flouncy blouses and impressively coiffed hair — nearly all, of course, in midnight black).
Back in August, lead singer Faris Badwan was beaten up on the streets of London for, as he puts it, “looking like a girl.” He cracked a tooth and spent the night in an emergency room, and according to organist Spider Webb, it was the kind of wanton act that’s been occurring with alarming frequency in their home city.
“There’s a growing number of mindless goons wandering about with nothing else to do but cause trouble,” he told MTV News on Monday. “They want to mess with you because of how you look. It’s nothing new, but it’s a bit scary.”
So they were looking forward to finally making it to America, and New York in particular, where they could cavort in their gothic finery without fear of being throttled.
“We haven’t had any hassle here, which is strange,” Badwan snickered on Monday. “Maybe because there’s five of us and usually only one or two of them. Or maybe because it’s Halloween.”
Needless to say, Badwan spoke too soon.
Because on Tuesday — Halloween, no less — as the Horrors played a private party at the New York club Stereo, he received a rather rude welcome to these shores: an onstage beatdown from a hostile concertgoer.
According to a spokesperson for the group, the incident occurred midset, when an unidentified, evidently inebriated man — who had been trying to grab the microphone from Badwan throughout the Horrors’ performance — leapt onstage and pulled the lead singer to the ground, where he began throwing punches. The two struggled for a moment before Stereo security intervened and ejected the stage invader.
Badwan — who suffered no serious injuries in the attack but, according to the Horrors’ spokesperson, was “a bit shaken up” — then picked up his microphone and laughed off the incident, remarking to the crowd, “It really is Halloween.”
When he spoke with MTV News earlier in the week, Badwan presciently speculated about what would happen if someone in the States hassled the bandmembers about their looks.
“Well, nothing would probably happen. We’d never change,” he said. “Just like we’d never compromise our music to get on the radio, we’d never change our dress to stop people from hassling us. It’s irrelevant. If they want to do that, great, but they’re not going to do anything with their lives.”