Sunday, December 05, 2021

The Howlers Bring The Heat On A Cold Mancunian Night

The Howlers are rapidly growing into one of the most exciting indie bands in the country, and they proved why on a short but certainly sweet gig at Manchester’s basement venue YES. 

Kicking off the set in a hectic manner, with crashing drums and blues-inspired fuzz-laden riffs that are fast becoming the band's trademark, the crowd quickly became aware that this three-piece mean business. 

After their initial blows, frontman Adam Young invited the decent-sized crowd to take a step forward, almost playfully daring those in attendance to take a step onto the rollercoaster that is The Howlers live. It’s certainly a ride I would encourage anyone to take, as the snarl-infused vocals and distorted bass truly create a warm and large sound that is a must-hear for any Rock ‘n’ Roll fan across the country. 

Fan favourites ‘I Don’t Love You All The Time’ and ‘Lost Without You’ were met with a warm reception, as the band delivered them in a typically raucous fashion. Material from their initial releases were also given a healthy run-out as The Howlers took us on a dizzying tour of some of their best tracks to date. 

Guitar issues half-way through the set were laughed off as singer Young praised his luck in asking a friend for a spare for the tour. Moments like that, however, were few and far between as the frontman seems more comfortable wielding his guitar than he does talking to the audience, but it’s hardly noticeable when he plays the guitar as fervently as he does. 

A noticeable aspect of the band live is how tight the bass is. Guus, the superb musician in question, maintains a calm exterior as his fingers glide over the fretboard. It’s a great antidote to the often-wild character of the frontman and his playing is only enhanced in the live habitat. Drummer Cam also maintains a steady beat throughout as his drumming perfectly captures the essence of the tracks he plays on. An almost telepathic understanding of when to be rhythmic and when to truly let loose seemed to be playing out in front of me, it’s a trait lost by many drummers and bands, yet one that The Howlers and Cam seem to have in abundance. 

The real standout moment from the gig was kept hidden away, only being released during the encore. As the audience had watched through thirty minutes of desert-brained riffs, the night had seemed to end on a real high. Frontman Adam Young, however, had different ideas. As he strolled onto the stage with his guitar in tow he reflected solemnly on his loss to the pandemic and proceeded to deliver a truly beautiful solo performance. The crowd stood in silence as the singer laid bare all his emotions that were perfectly captured by his nasal delivery, finishing the set in a heart-warming moment of raw emotion. 

“I know Cowboys don’t cry” sighed Young, well this cowboy certainly had a lump in his throat. 

James Ogden 

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