HOWL AT THE MOON VOL 17: SAYONARADrop The Dumbulls 29/7/17
“Thank you very much for staying up to watch us” That’s it. After 20 batches (17 plus three early uncredited shows), the lid’s been replaced on Howl At The Moon’s cooking pot for the last time. It’s a miracle that OHMNS have made it to 2am, turning in a majestic set despite being three sheets to the wind and a man down. Their sound, as ever, is a mighty wind, a pulse in the ocean’s depths, the energy released by the audience has been building for hours. They just rock. Much, much earlier, UNCLE JANE change tempo like they haven’t decided how fast each song should go. Bearing in mind Dumbulls is smaller than some people’s car hole anyway, this set feels like a rehearsal. But it’s a good rehearsal to watch, the performance is genuine, and they’re a necessary palate cleanser before the bizarro world of HART FOUNDATION ’97. It’s a treat when the nauseous crunches and squeaks of soundcheck turn out to be a taste of what’s to come and not just errors of balance and EQ. It’s easier to describe HF97 in their own words: “This song is about the film Austin Powers, which came out in 1997 and I’ve never seen. Cast your mind back to 1997, when [it] was showing at the Showcase on the East Lancs, petrol cost nothing, and you could get the bus for 32p, making petrol redundant anyway.” This spiel (and riffs thereon) introduces most of their songs. And their sound? Normally the urge to move to music is a good feeling, symptom of good times. Less often it’s pathological – dance for your life, even if it kills you.
This line-up’s so spicy it has the people begging for a glass of water, and special mentions must be made. MAN IN THE PARK, filling in for Bad Meds, specialise in getting doomy sludge from an unrecognisable 12-string acoustic guitar. They’re ferocious – in short bursts – and their set is over all too soon. Conversely, the key to MINCEMEAT’s success might prove to be a versatile sound. They could play Psych Fest, the Go-Go Cage, or support any of the indie lot passing through Liverpool at the Masque or Magnet without changing a note. JD MEATYARD deliver incredible words over a texture of drums, jangling guitar, and just enough steel bite to tell you there’s an acoustic there too. Whatever “I saw the son of a Parisian cyclist” means, you want to hear it again and again. Their cover of Sweet Jane (with spoken recollections of seeing Lou Reed alive and dead between refrains) could be better than anything John Cale managed down the street in May. Oh, and LAZY MARY play their first gig in 22 years. They probably thought it was all over back in 1995. But here they are.
Wishing your favourite club night sayonara has that sense of finality to it, but you can guarantee there’ll always be a few nocturnal freaks still around to howl at the moon.