Live Review: The Howl and The Hum

The Howl and The Hum

The Cluny, Newcastle, 24th January 2019

Words and photography: Sammy Sadler

In my relationship, I’m usually the one who recommends the new artists/bands to listen to. Submerging myself in new music on a daily basis means I’m more than happy to get home and tell Jim what he should be listening to next. But in the case of The Howl and The Hum, it was Jim who told me to listen to them and I’m so glad I did because I’m now a huge fan. So huge round of applause to Jim for that one. 

I was lucky enough to catch the York outfit at The Cluny and if I can be so bold, they are easily one of the best bands I’ve seen recently. So much so, that I can’t wait to see them again.

Before The Howl & The Hum took to the stage though, Newcastle four-piece Sauvage stormed through an impressive support set. It’s the first time I’ve managed to catch these guys and their talent is pretty damn good – each note is played to perfection. Funky bass lines form backbones to soaring soundscapes of intricate melodies and frontman Rob Griffiths has a cracking voice. I’d quite like to catch them on a headline show so will be keeping my eyes peeled for news of that.

As soon as The Howl and The Hum took to the stage, I genuinely couldn’t keep my eyes from them. Opening with a gorgeous guitar riff which was soon joined by frontman Sam Griffith’s mellifluous vocals for ‘Terrorforming’, it was hard not to be mesmerised from the get go. And I’m really not exaggerating – each member of the audience was silent.

‘Manea’ was next up boasting similarities to Alt-J with a twist of dark pop undertones which gradually grow and seep through into a post punk-esque delight. One of my personal favourites ‘Portrait I’ was also on the setlist and it sounds just as good live as it does on Spotify. Again sticking with the Alt-J similarities, the lyrics are super catchy and it’s seriously funky. Plus, it really shows off Sam’s vocal range ability as he switches between a casual croon and piercing high notes with a rock rasp.

The whole setlist was hooked around the idea of possessions, something stressed very poetically by Sam throughout. It was this that prompted quirky tales and provided the audience with laughs – which really added to the intimacy of the set. It also has to be said that Sam’s presence on stage is one of the best I’ve ever seen. I tend to find myself to be quite judgemental of the lead in a band and I expect an engaging performance from them which is probably why I idolise the likes of Jarvis Cocker and Fred Macpherson. Sam Griffiths has that kind of vibe about him – captivating yet subtle, his dance moves and dry sense of humour really compliment the band’s whole set and make it so much more than just fantastic music. It’s like an experience. 

I couldn’t possibly list which tracks were the best because I think I’d need a paragraph on each song they played. This being said, ‘Don’t Shoot The Storm’ definitely deserves a mention due to how it reminds me of a vintage rock and roll tune and ‘I Wish I Was A Shark’ is another example of the band’s diverse range of musical ability with its brooding vibes.

Ending on the stunning ‘Godmanchester Chinese Bridge’, I could genuinely almost feel my eyes fill with tears. An incredible set that I wish I could just watch over and over again. Oh and ‘Godmanchester Chinese Bridge’ is fucking phenomenal.

2019 has to be the year for these guys – they are too good for it not to be.


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    Popped Music has been going since Feb 2010.

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