The queue around the block of Scala (the first of two shows in one evening for the band) gives a sure sign of just how important the return of The House Of Love is, and they have been packing out venues ever since Terry Bickers rejoined in 2005 and began touring again.
Their crowd may be a little gentler nowadays, the meanest heckle anyone can muster is “Hello dad,” aimed at a very bemused Bickers. Gentle heckles don’t deter the huge applause greeting almost every song though. They launch straight into strong recent material ‘Days Run Away’ and ‘Low Black Clouds’, the latter coming off new album ‘She Paints Words In Red’ released in March this year.
Not for the first time is the line “This band should have been massive,” is overheard, but they were, and this has always been what divides people when it comes to them. It is the same The House Of Love that used to headline venues like the Royal Albert Hall as well as festivals all over. Confirmation of what makes The House Of Love, and Guy Chadwick’s songs, such a powerful force comes with the crystal clear pairing of ‘I Don’t Know Why I Love You’ and ‘Christine’. If there is a level of cheering above deafening then that is what greets these two songs. Ears are left ringing as much from the guitars as from the crowd noise. There was no unfulfilled potential for the band when they headed up the Creation Records roster in the late '80s, and they never got to the point the where they simply rolled out mediocre albums, the release of new material was always an event. The quality of their output was unrivalled. Every person in the Scala tonight knows exactly how important this band are, both to them and as an influence on many jangly indie guitar bands around at the moment.
As has been the case for a long time now, the opening notes of ‘Love In A Car’ does something very strange, you simply have to close your eyes and enjoy the guitars as they build, and the goose pimples rise up. By the time its gorgeous crescendo of notes are rolled out the venue falls completely silent, singer Guy Chadwick, the rest of the band, and the entire audience are staring directly at guitarist Terry Bickers, in wonder at how he can create such a sublime feeling. As Chadwick rightly sings, it is “deeper than any sea.” Bickers mastered the sound that makes this band so unique many moons ago, and it feels very special to see him create it again tonight.
By the time they end with ‘Destroy The Heart’ it is clear they are on a roll which is just the beginning of the evening for them, as gig number two (an acoustic set) awaits the lucky few who won tickets - the 1,100 strong capacity crowd wishes they could come along too. The House Of Love have just reclaimed many crowns.
Words by James Young