The Wolf Howls When I Scream Your Name + supports- Electric Church, Winsford- 20.09.19 / Louder Live
It is every music fan’s dream to happen across a small, quirky venue and, upon peering inside, discover a band who go on to change your perceptions of music. Well, unique and quirky are two things that Winsford’s The Electric Church do very well indeed – being an underground record shop and café by day, which then transforms into a tiny, but boisterous venue after hours. And as for the bands, there’s something for everyone if you know where to find it, as we can attest to, following our visit there!
After an unexpected shift in the running order, Birmingham hardcore punks Vultures sportingly offered to take to the stage in the night’s pole position- and immediately, the already intimate space seemed to shrink even further, as a mammoth wall of sound came hurtling across the room! No inch of sonic space in the tracks was spared, as the thrashing guitars and galloping bassline roared in unison, laced with searingly hot, un-streamlined vocals- all delightfully unedited and uncensored! Taking every available inch of space as their domain, the band came striding in amongst the crowd, which filled out as their set progressed with intrigued passers-by, drawn in like moths to a flame by their punchy melodies. If you’re searching for hardcore punk rock with enough ferocious bite to live up to its name, as well as enough melody to keep your head banging all night (as well as giving you a profound case of tinnitus the next day!), then you’ve found your new favourite band in Vultures.
Lining up against a backdrop of spacey, electronic synths, Stoke-based quartet In The Cards then took the atmosphere of the room and flipped it entirely on its head, bringing their signature brand of pop rock into the spotlight, characterised by silky melodies with a hint of grit like crystallised sherbet in their centre. The vocal talents of frontwoman Amy were immediately obvious, as the soaring vocal lines seemed to climb endlessly and effortlessly, while the band were kept neatly tucked under the edge of the expansive ‘rock’ genre umbrella by something low-slung and springy in the bassline that elevated each of the tracks. Slotting neatly in alongside well-loved bands such as Against the Current and Courage My Love, In The Cards’ set appeared pushed along serenely by their backing tracks, meaning that while they worked seamlessly as a unit, the intended grandiose drama of the melodies didn’t quite resonate with as much gusto as they had the potential to. However, with the introduction of the low, grumbling ‘Mazes’, the band rode the rising crescendo of the drums to at last push through the wall that separated band and crowd, letting a small sparkle of their personality glint occasionally through their final few tracks.
Tonal shifts were a common theme throughout the night’s proceedings, as the arrival of the extravagantly named headliners, The Wolf Howls When I Scream Your Name, brought about yet another switch in the feel of the room- one as intimate as it was sorrowful, and welcoming as it was heart-wrenching. Carrying all the magnitude of Radiohead-in-miniature, the band plunged into a set packed with tear-jerking lyricism and pummelling drums in the choruses, the enormity of which hit you each and every time with the force of bowling ball to the stomach. From the moody, haunting ‘It Hurts Me’, to the searingly candid, as-yet-unreleased ‘Guilt’, this was a band unafraid of exposing their deepest vulnerability, and it paid off in dividends, as the entire room was carried through each dark ebb and swell of vocalist Matty Awbery’s psyche. Not that the entire evening was that sombre- the jovial banter between the band and the amenably heckling audience permeated the room with a genuine warmth that made you almost inadvertedly laugh through the tears. A true celebration of local musical talent that is primed and ready for something much, much bigger…
The Wolf Howls When I Scream Your Name and Vultures complete their current weekender tonight at Live Bars in Warrington.
The Wolf Howls When I Scream Your Name:
In The Cards: