Howler, Hooded Fang, fiN: The Kazimier, Liverpool

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Pretenders to the Strokes crown fail woefully to light up a depleted Kazimier as a group of Canadian surf-rockers save Getintothis’ Liam Fay’s evening.


They have been dubbed the ‘new Strokes‘ and have been compared to new crown holders of the British indie scene, The Vaccines, yet tonight’s performance has done little to justify those claims.
Hailing from Minneapolis, Howler have been acclaimed for their onstage antics and brilliant live shows. Tonight must have been an off night for they were outrageously underwhelming. The word contrived is on the money.
That is not to say the evening was a complete bust. The show was well and truly stolen by the Canadians, Hooded Fang.
A band at ease on the stage with no pretentions of what they are and what they are doing.
The Fang settled in and gave an infectious and beguiling performance. “This is the only time we’re gonna be in Liverpool so what the fuck?,” was the cry from lead vocalist Daniel Lee to the standoffish crowd.
Urging them to come forward and move a little. Just a little. They appeared to want to observe as if visiting an exhibit in a museum.
Lee’s vocals moan and mumble and blur. Songs are punctuated by subtle-catchy hooks that are the staple of their brand of surf-rock. Comparisons to The Black Lips were made immediately.

Easy, witty interactions with the punters give them a likeable edge. Clap, Tosta Mista and ESP are stand out tracks.
They ooze with potential and can only stand to get better. As time goes by it will be interesting to see what they add to their short and punchy repertoire of surf-rock.
Howler, however, rattled through their set as if they had to catch a bus home before their mums realised they were still out of the house.
The sparsely populated Kazimier swayed along with supreme indifference, almost out of politeness.
It would be harsh to say that they delivered something that was mind-numbing as there were moments which made the kids in the front row move, but these were few and far between.
Jordan Gatesmith, who placed at #43 on NME’s cool list of 2011, was keen on a heavy vocal echo which he felt would give an effect of space. It instead created a disorientated sound that was uncomfortable to listen to.
There isn’t much to say about Howler’s set. They got through it quickly with not much to differentiate from their debut album. Though the plastic disc gives off more charisma and ‘likeability’ than this lot do.
Showing disinterest in the crowd and supreme condescension, they attempted antagonising their audience on more than one occasion but quickly gave up after it became obvious that the crowd didn’t care. The chip on Jordan’s shoulder grew heavier as we became even more bored.
Earlier in the evening South-London four-piece fiN nearly took the roof off The Kazimier with a lively opening set which drew comparisons with Lostprophets. In a good way.
Despite reaching a zenith with their first effort, which was purely instrumental, they continued to give it their all with their animated, energetic stage antics.
They would do well and deserve to play in front of a larger audience as it felt embarrassing watching these men play their hearts out in front of a virtually empty room.

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