To look at the audience at the O2 Academy in Islington tonight, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you were about to watch another new sleaze rock band. As it happens, there was a bit of that when Peepshow took to the stage, but in a good way. The Scottish five piece have the catchy songs of fellow sleaze metallers Crashdïet, but have a definite edge on their Swedish counterparts when it comes to live performances. They played a tight set and managed to create enough energy in the room before the real action started.
There’s a level of anticipation that precedes The Howling, one that’s usually reserved for more established acts. When the lights go down and they swagger onstage you expect something big…and straight from the beginning they deliver. Immediately they launch into ‘The Outsiders‘, the kind of song which rips right through you, leaving you unable to stand still. The thundering chorus of ‘we’re the Outsiders’ is a rallying cry to all the people who thought real rock and roll died sometime in the early 90s.
‘Pitbull‘ gets you with the same ferocity. It begins with hard hitting drums and pounding guitars before simmering down, only for Blacky to exclaim ‘welcome to the dog fight ladies and gentlemen!’. When they say they’ve got the bite of a pit bull you’d better believe it.
Vocalist Blacky is made from the classic punk frontman mould. He’s cocky and arrogant, but unlike many others he can back it up. He has a raw vocal talent that perfectly fits the band’s aggressive lyrics, and the attitude to make you believe in them. The driving force of their unique sound comes from The Rev’s guitar. He’s the archetypal snarling lead guitarist, straddling the stage and pounding out heavy riffs to lift you off your feet, and sure enough, nobody is touching the ground when they charge into ‘Champion‘.
Closing the set with ‘Lunatic‘, another anthemic piece of dirty rock and roll the audience are left thirsting for more. There’s no doubt that every person there will leave with at least one of these song stuck in their head for the foreseeable future.
What makes The Howling such a great live band is that there’s barely anytime to catch your breath while watching them. They charge into every song and never let down. They are captivating and invite you into their world by the sheer force created by their sound. There’s some 80s hard rock in there, mixed with a bit of Nine Inch Nails at their peak and with a lot of punk energy thrown in. It all comes together to make a unique adrenalin fuelled sound that slaps you in the face and makes you take notice.
With the rock world seemingly populated by either drab indie bands or screamo teenagers The Howling are exactly what is needed to kick the scene back into gear. They’re not metal, glam or electro rock. They are the outsiders, playing by their own rules. If you want proper, raw rock and roll you need to look no further, The Howling are coming and they may just take over.
Tags: The Howling