Reviewed by Tom Pitts | Photos by Tony Proudfoot
As I stood in line to get into the band room, Howler struck me as an odd venue to hold a soul country shin-dig; the DJ and the mood lighting giving the front bar the atmosphere of a civilized night at revolver; not to mention the distinct lack of beards and flannel shirts.
Once the bands got started, however, things started to feel a lot more like home. First up were Sugar Fed Leopards, a sultry eight-piece, dressed up in sequins and falling somewhere between disco and soul, giving us a dose of doo-wops and boogaloos, lead singer Steph Brett showing off a very impressive set of pipes.
Pony Face hypnotized the audience with a ridiculously tight set of transporting riffs, thundering grooves and brilliant use of the delay pedal, which was almost as impressive as lead singer Simon Bailey’s triumphant moustache/side burns ensemble.
The room was pissed and buzzing with anticipation by the time Saint Jude hit the stage, suited up for the occasion in their Sunday best; singer Brooke Penrose even going so far as to sport an absolutely delightful white chrysanthemum. They were in fine form and launched straight into the single, ‘Laurelie’ from their new LP, Saint Jude II, which had the audience singing along from the word go. The hour that followed was an impressive display of great songwriting and tight harmonies as the boys jumped from album to album, keeping the audience captivated with a mix of old and new. The only hitch coming at the end of the set as someone lost their sense of occasion and unceremoniously brought up the house music before the encore bringing a tinge of awkwardness to the ritual. Special mention going to ‘Bury Me Down’ from their first LP, which is a killer track and always goes down a treat.