Howler at Hackney Oslo
Around this time three years ago, Howler were seemingly the darlings of the UK indie scene, having just released their debut EP This One’s Different, leading them to be named the third best new band of 2011 by NME. Lead singer Jordan Gatesmith was included on the prestigious magazine’s cool list. Plenty of time has passed since then and two albums later the band has yet to truly break into the mainstream. We went down to Hackney to discover what a Howler live show is all about.
After walking into the venue for the first time, it’s extremely noticeable how formal and swanky it is; a jazz quarter would definitely feel at home playing Oslo. This clash of a post-punk indie band playing a somewhat glamorous venue seems an odd one, though it seems perfect when you consider Howler’s music is a mashed-up mix of melodic indie guitar riffs and louder harrowing vocals.
The never-envied task of warming up the crowd before the main band tonight is left to long-haired moody rockers Broken Hands, and after ploughing through a rip-roaring tight set they more than live up to this responsibility. The bar was therefore set high as Jordan Gatesmith and co come out to a full boozy room. The intensity associated with the bands’ records is fully matched as they step out and blaze through tracks like Drip and Al’s Coral with Gatesmith’s vocals reaching the scowling vicious levels fans love.
Despite the grungy start, the crowd don’t seem fully convinced as nods of the head and steady shuffles are the only movements that are met by the opening tracks. Crowd interaction is kept to a minimum as the shout of “we’re from Minneapolis!” is the only information the band feels the need to get across – a declaration that is greeted with loud rowdy cheers. The atmosphere is soon stepped up once bigger hits Don’t Wanna and Back of Your Neck are blasted out; they’re met with the obligatory circle pits and even a wayward crowd surfer.
As traces of influence from The Ramones and The Stooges makes for an easy comparison, the relentless progression of songs and pristine grungy sound quality shows that this band has no intention of slowing down.
For further information and future events visit Howler’s website here.
Watch the video for Back of Your Neck here: