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.
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: