By: Derek Jung
I had heard rumblings of Wolf Alice from across the pond for the last year, so when the UK band was announced at Madison Live! I was pleasantly surprised that such a big name band was going to play such a small, intimate venue here in town. If you don't know them, get familiar, because they're already one of the bigger acts in the UK at the moment. Their debut full length My Love Is Cool was recently nominated for The Mercury Prize, considered one of the highest musical honors, and their single "Moaning Lisa Smile" was also nominated for Best Rock Performance at the 2016 Grammys. Knowing that this very well could be the last opportunity to see them in such a small space, I had to go.
With the accolades the album has been receiving, I was really impressed at how well the energy translates live. Ellie Roswell's voice was in perfect form, and songs like "You're a Germ" and "Fluffy" really popped in terms of their raw grungy feel. Even though the focal point of the band is obviously Roswell, much of the energy and showy elements come from her bandmates, bassist Theo Ellis and guitarist Joff Oddie. Theo in particular, looking like The Bends-era Thom Yorke, kept me watching. Beyond that, one of the highlights of the show was definitely "Swallowtail", the only song sung by drummer Joel Amey, which was just as haunting as the album version, and the ending was stellar. In fact, every song in the set seemed to capture some additional force behind them, resulting in a captivating and wildly entertaining set. Simply put, the band sounded phenomenal.
While they only have one album and two EPs of material to perform, their show included every song that I wanted to hear. The only songs from My Love Is Cool that they didn't play were album opener "Turn To Dust" and "Soapy Water", one of the weakest songs on the album.
Check out the full setlist and a video of the band performing "Moaning Lisa Smile" below.
Your Loves Whore
You're a Germ
90 Mile Beach
Moaning Lisa Smile
By: Derek Jung
Houndmouth is a wonderful folk rock band based in Louisville, Kentucky. I had the pleasure of seeing them a few years back at Forecastle Music Festival in Louisville when they were only a glorified regional act. Now, with the release of their foot-stomping new album Neon Limelight, the band has established themselves as a force in upcoming indie music. Madison Theater was the final stop on this leg of their tour, and Houndmouth was treating this as a big, hometown party. Before the show, I got word from some of the staffers at the Madison that the band had around fifty people on the guest list, family and friends that made the quick jaunt north from Louisville, and the capacity crowd certainly wasn’t lacking in rectangular “VIP” stickers. Even the Covington Fire Marshall was on hand to make sure that all of the fire codes were followed, probably for the best because I’ve been to a few sold out shows there that, in my opinion, were oversold (I’m looking at you Sturgill Simpson).
Everyone filled in quickly and I had a prime spot on the first rail to see all of the action on the stage and down in the pit area. Opener HOWARD was an interesting pick for a tour partner. His blend of atmospheric, noisy, guitar picking echoed throughout the venue. At some points he sounded like Chris Martin from Coldplay, and at others if I closed my eyes I would have sworn I was seeing Radiohead playing material off of their The King of Limbs album. Overall I think the band got an okay reception, highlighted by the final song where Houndmouth’s drummer, Shane Cody and lead guitarist, Matt Myers came on stage to play.
After a brief intermission, Houndmouth took the stage to rousing applause and wasted no time, blazing through hits from both Neon Limelight and In The Hills Below The City. Being a semi-hometown show, most of the people knew all of the songs, so the show turned into one big sing-along, with the band’s fantastic harmonies blended with the audience’s passionate voices. This was especially noticeable with songs like “Gasoline”, where Kate Toupin commented that the crowd was “going to make [her] cry”. A few times, the crowd was so loud that Matt turned his microphone around and let everyone belt it out. You could tell that everyone on stage was enjoying the energy, and they reciprocated back to us.
Gone, for the most part, was the instrument switching that was one of the highlights for me from the first time that I saw them. But it was probably for the best, as each person has developed their own distinct role in the band now. Another well received change was the greatly improved stage presence. There’s a difference between just having fun on stage and having fun while also putting on a show. Matt has grown into a great performer, kneeling and laying back during guitar solos; bassist Zak Appleby hopped and jumped around stage and could oftentimes be seen jamming with drummer Shane Cody, and in general the band interacted with each other like one strong, cohesive unit.
By the end of the show, it was clear that Houndmouth was bringing down the house. Matt started the encore with a haunting rendition of “For No One” and then the rest of the band returned for Kate’s “Casino (Bad Things)” and finally “My Cousin Greg”.
I think Houndmouth is on the verge of breaking out into the mainstream in a big way. I can see them reaching the likes of “The Lumineers” in the not so distant future. Maybe with their next release. Catch them while you can because they’re on their way up.
By: Joseph Kathmann
Oh hey! Who the heck are you guys again? Now that I've gotten that stupid joke out of the way, let's talk about the Opry. This was my second time to the legendary Ryman Auditorium, and it was also my second time seeing the Grand Ole Opry. (Though last time it was at its native residence out at Opry Mills) I wanted to mix things up this time around, so I found a spot to watch the show from the ground level, and wanted to see what things would be like with such a low-hanging balcony blocking my view. Not just in terms of sights, but in sound as well.
I'm not really going to talk about any of the artists who performed at this show, mostly because there's nothing really to report. It was a pretty lackluster day from the Opry, with Ronnie Milsap and Connie Smith being the two biggest names on the bill. And Smith only got to play a song since she was hosting her section so definitely not enough to even say I've now seen Connie Smith. Even though I've seen her both times I've been to the Opry. But I will say there was a young talent who really stood out. Jackie Lee only had a few songs to feature his genuine country voice, but he really impressed me in that short span of time. He's the only person out of the young talent I've seen so far from the Opry (and Nashville as a whole for that matter) that I really think has a shot at being "the next big thing." And he's also signed to Jason Aldean's label. That always helps. Other than him, this show was really about experiencing the Opry in its original home, The Ryman Auditorium.
In one sentence: The Ryman did not disappoint. While watching the Opry sucked (just look at that picture above) listening to it was one of the greatest experiences I've ever had at a concert. I didn't really get to appreciate the acoustics of the venue at the Walk the Moon show simply because those speakers were not built for indie synth pop. They were, however, built for country music, and I was absolutely blown away listening to this show. For once, I could hear everything that was happening in front of me. I could pinpoint every instrument and exactly what they were doing at any given moment. There was no distortion! At all! I mean, how is that possible? Well, even from underneath the balcony this show sounded incredible. I had extremely high expectations for this venue to deliver in its native habitat, and somehow it did not disappoint.
Who are we?
Derek Jung and Joseph Kathmann -- Just two ordinary (debatable) guys that love talking about music. You can read more about us here: