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Luke’s Alphabet Tour – H: Howl Griff at London Dublin Castle – 19th April 2012

By on Monday, 30th April 2012 at 2:00 pm

It’s a rainy Thursday night in Camden Town. Everyone is huddling for under umbrellas to get somewhere cosy and warm. And where do us Brits hide when it’s raining? The pub. The Dublin Castle is slowly filling with punters after some real ale and a decent jukebox, but there’s also a little gig.

Little is indeed the operative word as the venue’s crowd is barely 20 people strong but opener Monarchy Of Roses don’t let it worry them. The duo’s Radio2-friendly acoustic tones, however, are strummed out too generically to get this audience active, but their cover to Paul Weller‘s ‘Wild Wood’ starts a slight hum-along.

They are followed by another two-piece, this time in the guise of London’s own Whisky Stain. Their blend of indie and Americana rocks much harder than Monarchy Of Roses, and appear to be winning over the dwindling crowd. Despite suffering slight technical difficulties, the London lads rush through the stomping free single ‘Your Love’ and the stripped back ‘Innocent Man’ that is drenched in Iggy tendencies.

The most popular band tonight, though, aren’t the headliners. The indie-meets-post-rock foursome the Naturals have brought some extra fans along to boost numbers and seemingly their egos (bowing to someone pushing a pedal is a bit too far). But these Bristol boys have been honing their craft since 2004 and are armed with one hell of an arsenal. What starts as ‘just another indie band’ transcends into mammoth instrumentals both in size and volume. The feedback-laden fret-flailing and effect pedal bashing is absorbed by Dublin Castle who are force-fed a set-closer that never ends. The powerhouse that peaks and troughs with gay abandon only reaches its natural conclusion after almost 10 minutes of smashing and crashing that makes ears bleed – but also remember.

Unfortunately for tonight’s bill toppers, Howl Griff, the minute crowd has depleted further. Perhaps it’s the rain or the ‘last tube effect’, but the Welsh quartet carry on regardless. Sounding like an odd mix of Status Quo and a weathered Kings of Leon, these friends of folk plough on with hits from their back catalogue, with ‘Fragile Diamond’ receiving the best response of the night. There’s no encore for these bearded purveyors of rock and roll, though, as the crowd just aren’t receptive – not even the bands playing beforehand stayed to show their appreciation. Regardless of the crowd size, however, Howl Griff gave a strong performance in one of London’s best-known venues. What more could you ask for?


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