Boy Harsher are an exciting electronic duo consisting of vocalist Jae Mathews and producer Augustus Muller. The band’s particular blend of coldwave and cinematic synth has been garnering many new fans of late, especially as their current world tour has started to expose even bigger and better audiences to their oeuvre. Last Sunday, 28th August, they played a rollicking set at the EartH venue in Hackney, London.
The packed-out room at EartH (a venue known in full as Evolutionary Arts Hackney) was a testament to Boy Harsher’s growing popularity. They were late to enter the stage—by 8:30pm, their set was only just about to start—but the audience responded warmly, and were rewarded for their patience with the opener ‘Give Me a Reason’ from their latest album The Runner (2022).
The Runner is the band’s fourth full length LP, and is the official score to a short film of the same name by Matthews and Muller who met at a film school in Georgia. The Runner is more brooding than its predecessors—particularly the masterpiece that was Careful (2019)—but it has the same cinematic pulse as before, and with some extra twists of dark synthpop that went down well with the audience in Hackney.
The ambience was enhanced with a backdrop of thick, theatrical fog and alternating red, blue, and green lights, which went perfectly with the band’s 80s-electronic vibe. Boy Harsher had started off slow, but eventually cranked up the energy with ‘Fate’, one of the punchiest songs from their second album, Careful. This was followed up with ‘LA’, another immensely danceable number from the same album, which the audience loved.
As I watched their performance, I noted that Jae Mathews isn’t just a singer, but a wonderful performer who knows how to engage an audience. Her dancing was strong in allure and sex appeal, and her occasional bursts of shouting were perfectly timed to coincide with the punchy drum beats of Boy Harsher’s songs—the latter of which added to the Gothic, industrial flavour of their music.
The sheer enthusiasm of the audience made it impossible for Boy Harsher not to do an encore. They played one of their earliest pieces, ‘Pain’: an unforgettable, gritty song which comes from their Lesser Man EP, which was released in 2014. The nostalgia of some vintage Boy Harsher was the right way to wrap up the London leg of such a stellar world tour. My only gripe with it was that the show was over far too quickly—but we can only hope that they’ll at least release a live album their fans can remember it by.
Edited by Talia Andrea, Music Editor