Howling Bells @ The Plug, Sheffield 16.09.11

Right then Cold Specks. As okay as you were, the real attraction tonight is Australia’s Howling Bells.

Sep 16th, 2011 at The Plug, Sheffield / By Alex Yau
Howling Bells Those familiar with Howling Bells will no doubt see them as quite a raucous act – Juanita Stein leading the energy and chaos forward to a destructive point. Admittedly their fire burned the brightest with 2006’s debut and whilst their latest album The Loudest Engine has received mixed criticisms, the fire hasn’t burned out for them as a live unit. The darkness of the Plug seems a fitting venue for one of Australia’s darkest act.

‘Charlatan’ opens the night showing that Stein’s powerful attitude might even make Alison Mosshart retreat to the shadows. ‘Sioux’s lilting ethereal charm floats through the small venue whilst Juanita looks dazed and occupied in a trance herself. She takes maudlin control of her guitar during ‘Broken Bones’ which proves to be an extension of her enchanting voice. ‘Low Happening’ is a combination of stormy pop and gritty rock as melodies chime amongst the marching drums whilst ‘Blessed Night’ pierces the air with a benevolent menace. Howling Bells conjured their hypnotic charms tonight, and my oh my, what an experience it was.