Minneapolis band Howler survived the mudbath that was this year’s T in the Park festival only to arrive in York to torrential rain ~ enough to limit their exploration of the city. Lead man Jordan Gatesmith is downcast, “I was really looking forward to York. You have ghost walks here right?” he enquires as he surveys the rivers streaming past The Duchess’ loading bay. After kindly agreeing to a portrait he and fellow band members retire to the safety and hospitality of the backstage area.
Local band Miaow Miaow kicked the evening off with a neat and quite charming set which includes a song called ‘Tiger Suit’ which the lead singer helpfully explains is all about wearing a tiger suit. We should insist that for their next York appearance he does just that.
Splashh have been making something of a, well splash of late. They are ridiculously accomplished considering their short time together and have already drawn comparisons with The Vaccines but more Dinosaur Jnr than Ramones inspired. There is a fair amount of fuzz and feedback but the tunes claw themselves out of the noise and are seductive enough to easily win one over on a first hearing.
Finally Howler emerge and race through ‘Pythagorean fearem’ all Cramps guitars with a killer hook then treat us to pretty much the whole of their acclaimed debut ‘America Give Up’. Oddly it takes an extended pause due to a monitor issue before the crowd suddenly decide that they should cease their awe-struck reverence and engage in some serious dancing. Black lagoon is a stand out track and the intro to ‘Told You Once’ spreads much happiness in the increasingly boisterous audience.
By the time the set ends with ‘Back Of Your Neck’ Jordan is happy enough to invite the entire crowd onto the stage to join them, Pointing out that there is a complete lack of security to prevent this. Mayhem ensues and we nearly get a messy finale until security does appear and convinces everyone to return to the dance floor for a suitably rowdy climax to the set.