Howling Bells

Nottingham Rock City on Sat 27th May 2006

Australia’s Howling Bells pump dusty melancholy like warm blood through cold veins and as transient lead singer Juanita Stein contorts her vocal chords to reverberate sultry sonic sentiments, the smoke and squalor of Rock City sink into the background. Supporting The Cooper Temple Clause, tonight’s show is never going to feel as important as if it were a headline set in a smaller venue. Still, the whole point of a support slot is to win people over and although overt crowd reactions aren’t forthcoming, the smiles and head nodding imply a legion of new fans sauntering Howling Bells’ way.

Cork-hatted stereotypes are pushed out the picture as a song like ‘Broken Bones’ tickles the underside of the crowd’s hearts - Who’d have thought a nation defined largely by the goings on in Ramsey Street could ever invert the sunshine vibes to such startling effect. “Broken bones may hurt, but a broken heart will never heal” might seem like a barely disguised cliché on paper, but as Stein’s oscillating voice performs it live it’s as if the sentiment has never been prior expressed and it rings true in all those paying attention.

Still, while the crowd respond politely, the background chatter and anticipation for the night’s headliners still usurp each poignant, maudlin moment. It doesn’t help that the band are near motionless on stage – anyone walking to the bar is unlikely to have their attention caught by the mannequin impressions they adopt whilst strumming away.

Tonight it seems Howling Bells are simply in the wrong environment. When you’re hyped up to see your favourite band, a sombre and serene precursor is unlikely to go down well with your need for excitement. Their eponymous debut album is a trove of private wonder and the perfect late night soundtrack, but when seeing them live make sure it’s in surroundings that will compliment their hauntingly beautiful music.

article by: Alex Hoban

published: 30/05/2006 09:14


sorry, we currently have no gigs listed for this act.

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