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Houndmouth @ Upstate Concert Hall, NY

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In a room already flooded with pink light, Houndmouth truly illuminated the venue with their high spirits and astounding vocals. On June 22nd, Matt Myers, Zak Appleby, and Shane Cody took the stage of Upstate Concert Hall in New York, accompanied by their supporting instrumentalists.

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Opening with “Krampus” from their first studio album, Houndmouth performed the short, simple song portraying hope and new beginnings- fitting impeccably as the start to the night. From here until the end, the room was infused with energy, stemming from the band members’ interactions with one another. Myers and Appleby continuously exchanged smiles and laughs mid performance, while Cody and the other instrumentalists would shoot each other witty, joking looks. This reassured any onlookers that the performers were enjoying the show just as much as the fans were, ensuring positive spirits of everyone.

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In “This Party”, we see the band’s experimentation with a completely fresh style. Atop electronic beats and jingles, Myers sings “I don’t want to be at this party,” yet the Houndmouth concert is the party everyone wants to be at. For old time fans, this new sound is initially shocking, straying severely from the group’s original folk-rock rhythms. However, Houndmouth gets it right and proves their ability to transform sonically. By witnessing the energy of this song live, it becomes apparent that the tactical combination of a contemporary indie-pop basis with 80’s dance roots was formulated strategically and executed effectively.

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The band later slowed down the fast paced experience with “Modern Love”, another track from their upcoming album. The light guitar picking behind the musicians’ collaborative vocals especially stood out, creating a soothing aura that permeated the room.  

One of the night’s most intimate moments derived from the acoustic song “For No One”. The majority of the band members vacated the room, leaving Myers with his guitar and the saxist on the desolate stage. Myers hesitantly began to discuss the song’s meaning, then ceased his sentence to conclude that the song means something different for everyone. He serenaded the listeners while backed heavily by the saxophone, differing from the studio version of the song. The room became still as the crowd absorbed the soul and emotion of the music.

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Approaching the conclusion of the show, the crowd became increasingly excitable, eagerly shouting out popular song names like “My Cousin Greg” and “Honey Slider”, where Myers jokingly remarked, “Oh no they’re turning on us.” Houndmouth played the songs in response, fulfilling the crowd’s desires with the Little Neon Limelight tracks that drummer Shane Cody powers.

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By the end of the night, Houndmouth granted each listener with a plethora of feelings ranging from heartache to liberation. Throughout their vast span of sound, Houndmouth always remains true to their consciousness of the small details in their personal experiences, assembled into a story and then translated through song.

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photography by @sammackeyphotos

Houndmouth’s upcoming album “Golden Age” debuts this August.

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