When it was announced a few months ago that Howler would be touring through Toronto playing at the Drake (later changed to the Silver Dollar), I was ecstatic. Being one of my favourite bands, I would finally be able to see them play their signature garage surf-rock tunes! I had high hopes for the Minneapolis four piece going into their gig since all I heard were raved reviews of their shows, and believe me, they did not disappoint.
Opening with Al’s Corral set the entire mood of the show. The opening guitar riff sounded even more amplified and roaring, the vocals were spot on, and the bass fell perfectly in with line with the drums. You were able to tell by the high energy, quick paced tune that this gig was going to be a lot of fun.
Howler then went on to play a few more punky tracks off of their recently released second album World of Joy including Drip, Yacht Boys, and Indictment. During Indictment, Howler launched into an almost 5 minute long instrumental assault complete with feedback while they trashed out with their backs faced to the crowd. It was enticing to watch, and later when I was talking to Howler’s lead singer, Jordan Gatesmith, he told me that he liked to “test the crowd”. This is something that takes a lot of guts to do since you could either lose some of the crowd on this epic instrumental journey or some will just ride along.
Howler’s last few tracks of the night were fan favourites Don’t Wanna and Back of Your Neck. As the first single of off World of Joy, Don’t Wanna captures Howler’s punky-I-don’t-care sound. I was pleasantly surprised when the anthemic tune had even more grit and attitude live, since I thought it had already hit it’s max on the album. It is always great when a band can enhance a song when played live, that to me is what makes a great show. Back of Your Neck, the epiphany of a beach tune, also had a boost added to it’s twangy guitar riffs, steady drums, solid bass lines, and poppy “woo-woo-woo-woooos“. Howler are a definite must see and they put on an energized and impressive show that left the crowd craving for more.
For all reviews, photos, and features on Howler, click here.