Howling Bells @ 93 Feet East

Alex Hegazy - 09/12/2005

London, 7th December

The first act onstage tonight are Nizlopi. They are something of a novelty act with their beat boxing double bass player John accompanied with a folk singer/acoustic guitarist Luke. Their songs all have a “I’m going to win the lottery” feel about them and the crowd just can’t get enough. So much so that tonight Nizlopi are the first band on and are the only band to do an encore. They are so crazy their odds for Christmas number one are 7/4 and they wouldn’t be out of place in a royal variety show…shame that their fans were too busy being boring in the bar next door to catch the next two live acts.

The next band Howling Bells have a lot more credibility going on. In fact, a lot more bands members, atmosphere, musical ability, anthemic choruses and a singer with a complex personality. At times she is something like a disenfranchised cowgirl and others bears the mark of a true indie chanteuse. From Salad to The Sundays, from Texas to a P J Harvey apprentice scheme - Juanita the singer has enough of that special quality to gain a legion of fans. Their album having been produced by Coldplay producer Ken Nelson is testament to the potential of this band to rule the world, but just who is going to give them a chance?

Neither Howling Bells nor Nizlopi are a live entertainment match for The Hank & Lilly Show. Even the single members of this band on their own would be enough - with a mutant Shirley Temple swopping between trumpet, drums, and a weird stringed instrument, military gay cowboys playing guitars/cellos, a bunny boy, a pole dancing lesbo and a cheeky mermaid as the shows presenter. All of these people contribute to the vocals and hail from Canada. With songs about David Hasselhoff, straight girls turning lesbian in revenge against boys, shaving your testicles for your lover, the “one finger salute” and a few audience sing-a-alongs - this is the perfect show, full of giggles, catchy tunes and unique performances.

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