A band built for a bunker: HEALTH’s live show is like nuclear war
LA Noise-makers HEALTH graced the Orwellian stage of Gorilla on their first headline tour in the UK for six years. The show garnered a relatively sparse turnout but those who were in attendance were quite clearly dedicated fans.
Opening with the pounding drums of ‘Zoothorns’, three out of the four members screamed their throats out into different arrays of pedal boards; there was an immediate and brutal assault on the senses. HEALTH had arrived, and they were not fucking about. This band does let up and ploughed straight ahead into the tribalistic rhythms of ‘Crimewave’, which went down a storm. Headbanging ensued and the tension in the crowd was palpable.
The band really shone when they showed their newer, poppier side. For example, the signature gated synths of ‘Die Slow’ came across as some sort of apocalyptic disco track, with the beat so infectious that the entire crowd could not help but break into dance. The same goes for the blissful ‘Tears’–the throbbing drums of this track draw you in to a dreamy state of mind.
The emotionless singing of Jacob Duzsik worked perfectly live, too, almost acting as a soothing balm to the mechanical aggression of the music. A perfect example of this was on ‘Stonefist’ from HEALTH’s most recent album, Death Magic. The studio version is crushing enough as it is, but live, it came across as a whole different level of devastating. An industrial beast barely kept in line by the pacifying drone of the lyrics: “Remember, love’s not in our hearts”.
The set was kept short and sweet, clocking in at just under the hour mark, which was almost a relief considering the fatiguing nature of the music being played. However, this worked to the band’s advantage; the set stayed focused and direct. HEALTH proved themselves to be a unique and certainly interesting band who do what they do phenomenally.