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Howler – SXSW 2012 – America Give Up Tour

It was good news to learn that Dickies had once again secured their party abode at SXSW within the neighborhood-houses-meets-bar-zone area that has continued to evolve over the past few years. As I watched the stage being set for Minneapolis’ Howler, I went back to December of 2011 when I first heard the band’s “Back of Your Neck” track on Steve Lamacq’s Roundtable session on BBC6Music.

It was to be the first single off Howler’s 2012 debut, America Give Up (Rough Trade Records), and a song I quickly got addicted to (and played on The Kaffeine Buzz Show), as if I was 12 years old again, playing a song over and over after buying the 45 with my weekly allowance.

With a dose of swagger via lead vocalist and frontman, Jordan Gatesmith, “Back of Your Neck” evokes the desire to reinvigorate the “Reality Bites” dance with just the right dose of garage punk to salt the drink.

Following that single, America Give Up hit the streets a few weeks later in January, and fans like me who got pulled in by that track and that of Howler’s EPs from 2011 (which I found soon after that first listen on BBC) got more fuel for the fire.

On this pre-spring Austin day with the cold and the rain gone, the Dickies house was teeming with people enjoying the sun and Howler’s fresh and breezy rock ‘n roll, complementing each other in so many ways.

The onset of “Wailer (Making Out)” amped up the energy both on stage and off, as Gatesmith stretched his vocal chords as guitarist Ian Nygaard, keyboardist Max Petrek, drummer Brent Mayes and bassist France Camp matched his intensity. With beers spilling here and there, the boys and girls bounced to “Told You Once” (originally on the This One’s Different EP) with glee. When “Back of Your Neck” found its way towards the end of the set, recognition was found with the audience as Gatesmith languidly rested his arms on the mic stand singing, “Maybe this is all a mistake / So this devil in me is you / This talk is a kind of glue / A black mass a sick stab / Something that I didn’t choose,” and leaving a heavy pause before slamming into the chorus.

Like a shot of Jameson, it was all over too soon, but left us feeling warm inside and a bit woozy, but with silly grins on our faces. And, there would be other opportunities to slam a Howler shot during SXSW, including the SXSW Official Showcase 12am slot at the British Embassy (Latitude 30) and later today at the Sx San Jose Party (Jo’s Coffee at the San Jose (1300 S. Congress Ave.), not including the band’s previous gigs on Wednesday and Thursday. A full SXSW dance card indeed.

But that’s not all folks. Post SXSW, Howler stays on the road, hitting Denver on March 31 at the Hi-Dive and stays in tour mode through most of the summer, heading over to Europe and a few festivals, including Fiji Rocks in Japan.

Howler Tour Dates:

29th Mar – Flying M Coffee – Nampa, ID
30th Mar – Kilby Court – Salt Lake City, UT
31st Mar – Hi Dive – Denver, CO
2nd Apr – Waiting Room – Omaha, NE
4th Apr – Happy Dog – Cleveland, OH
5th Apr – Underground At The Drake, Toronto, ON
6th Apr – Le Divan Orange, Montreal, QC
7th Apr – Great Scott – Boston, MA
10th Apr – Knitting Factory – Brooklyn, NY
11th Apr – Mercury Lounge – New York, NY
12th Apr – Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA
13th Apr – Red Palace – Washington, DC
14th Apr – Smiling Moose – Pittsburgh, PA
15th Apr – Rumba Cafe – Columbus, OH
19th Apr – Varsity Theater – Minneapolis, MN
1st May – Belfast, Oh Yeah Music Centre (14+)
2nd May – Dublin, Academy 2 (14+)
3rd May – Liverpool, The Kazimier (16+)
5th May – Live at Leeds (14+)
6th May – Sunderland, Independent (18+)
7th May – Club Academy, Manchester (14+)
8th May – London, The Garage (14+)
10th May – Leicester, Soundhouse (14+)
11th May – NME Radar Stage, Horatio’s Bar, The Great Escape, Brighton
12th May (12:00 midday) – All Ages Show, The Latest Music Bar, The Alternative Escape, Brighton
14th May – Reading, Sub89 (16+)
15th May – Portsmouth, Wedgewood Rooms (14+) #savepompey
16th May – Bristol, Fleece (14+)
18th May – London Calling, Paradiso, Amsterdam
19th May – Rotown, Rotterdam
20th May – Molotow, Hamburg
21st May – Gebaude 9, Cologne
22nd May – Atomic, Munich
24th May – Trix, Antwerp
25th May – De Zwerver, Ostend
26th May – Inrocks Indie Club @ La Fleche d’Or, Paris
28th May – Voxhall, Aarhus
29th May – Vega, Copenhagen
30th May – Pustervik, Gothenburg
31st May – Debaser, Stockholm
1st July – OpenAir, St Gallen, Switzerland
2nd July – Flex, Vienna
3rd July – Silbergold, Frankfurt (16+)
5th July – The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes (All Ages)
6th July – Ku Bar, Stockton On Tees (18+)
8th July – T in the Park, Scotland
10th July – The Duchess, York
11th July – Lancaster Library, Lancaster (All Ages)
12th July – New Slang, Kingston Upon Thames (18+)
13th July – Latitude Festival, Southwold
15th July – Benicassim Festival, Spain
17th July – Phoenix, Exeter (16+)
18th July – King Arthur, Glastonbury (18+)
20th July – Slottsfjell Festival, Tonsberg, Norway
27th-29th July – Fuji Rock Festival, Japan
17th-19th Aug – Lowlands Festival, Netherlands



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