Photos by C. Michael Stewart
By BRADEN LAMMERS
Before they ever took the stage at Iroquois Amphitheater Friday, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer declared it Houndmouth Day.
The Southern Indiana band has booked gigs this summer like the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, Lollapalooza, Outside Lands Festival and, as they announced during the show Friday night, the Forecastle Festival.
Matt Myers, vocals and guitar, Katie Toupin, keyboards and vocals, Zak Appleby, bass, and Shane Cody, drums, have only been playing together as a band for about a year-and-a-half.
And Houndmouth is still yet to release a full-length album.
So why does a New Albany four-piece elicit all of this attention? I found out Friday; and I also found out it is well-deserved.
Houndmouth opened the summer schedule at Iroquois Amphitheater Friday night with Ranger and Joe Pug.
As the band began playing to the hometown crowd, about half of the audience that filled the lower bowl of Iroquois Amphitheater, and spilled into the second tier, got out of their seats. By the time the song was finished everyone was standing. The audience didn’t sit down for the rest of the show.
The second song out of the gate was “On the Road,” the first single off the band’s forthcoming album, “From the Hills Below the City.”
What was immediately evident with Houndmouth is they’re young, they’re talented and they were having as much fun as the crowd.
Houndmouth is an indie-rock band with a heavy folk influence. They produce a well-rounded, full sound with outstanding harmonies. But they don’t let the folky-rock get stale.
About halfway through the set, the blues came out in the band. The switch was marked by “Houston Train” where Toupin took over on lead vocals.
Houndmouth followed it up by playing a Grace Potter and the Nocturnals cover, where the band swapped which instruments they were playing and took turns singing verses of “I Shall Be Released.”
Each of the band’s members had their turn at the mic which also helped keep the sound fresh and distinct. But for the majority of the songs Myers acts as the sing-songy frontman.
After bringing Ranger and Joe Pug back out on stage to close the set, Houndmouth came out for an encore which included maybe their most well-known song “Penitentiary.”
Well-known might still be a stretch.
It’s unique to go to a performance and not know the majority of songs a band is playing and leave a fan. Houndmouth has that ability.
While it might also be true that they are better known locally, it will soon not be the case. Jump on the bandwagon now, so you can say you knew them when. The ride this band is on is not going to end anytime soon.
“From the Hills Below the City” is set to be released June 4.