New Albany, Indiana’s Houndmouth began their 2016 Spring Tour in our hometown of Lexington, Ky. The band took the stage at Manchester Music Hall on a Friday evening, March 4th, to a sold out crowd. The line to get into the venue stretched down Manchester Street and the air was cold enough to see your breath; however spirits of ticket holders were not dampened as we awaited excitedly. Those searching for tickets on Craigslist in the days before the show could see a post for “Pearl Jam tickets TRADE for Houndmouth,” talk about a hot ticket.
The newly-renovated Manchester Music Hall (previously Buster’s) is quickly becoming a staple in the Lexington music community, hosting an array of genres from country, to rock and hip-hop. Both the interior and exterior of the venue have been updated, giving the location a fresh look.Louisville’s Justin Paul Lewis opened for the band with tunes reminiscent of bayous and beignets, throwing in a cover of My Morning Jacket’s “Mahgeeta.”
Soon after, Houndmouth took the stage flooded in bright neon pink from their fluorescent marquee sign, roaring straight into “Black Gold.” The band was also accompanied by a two-man horn section, transforming each song into fuller, more orchestral versions of what we’d seen on previous tours.
The show was an all out sing-along as audience members threw their arms around their neighbors to join in belting out the lyrics to each song, led by frontman Matt Myers. As it turns out, Lexington knows their Houndmouth lyrics.The band played a good mix of songs off 2013’s From the Hills Below the City and 2015’s Little Neon Limelight, adding in a couple of new songs such as the boot-stomping “Gameshow,” in which Myers puts his hands on his hips, elbows bout, and struts about all sassy.
The chemistry on stage was electric. In “On the Road” Katie Toupin sings “Hey there boy in blue, I think there’s something wrong with you.” The line is very literal as she directs her gaze towards Myers, dawning a navy blue sports jacket.Mid-show, the band began trading instruments, showcasing their versatility and talent no matter the arrangement. As Toupin moved from piano to drums, then to guitar, she took centerstage, culminating in a hauntingly-beautiful version of “Gasoline.”
By the time the set ended with “Sedona” the crowd was ready to erupt when the song slowly built up into an explosive “SO BRIGHT AND PINK!” cheer. The fluorescent light seemed to burn a little brighter now.The band shortly returned, turning the encore into a scene from the 1992 classic Wayne’s World, as opener Justin Paul Lewis returned for an arm-waving rendition of Gary Wright’s “Dream Weaver”. Finally they would end with the honky-tonk jam “My Cousin Greg,” always reminding us that “If you want to live the good Life, You better stay away from the Limelight.”
Halfway to Hardinsburg
On the Road
Game Show* (new song)
Dream Weaver* (cover)
Southside (new song)
My Cousin Greg*
* Played with Horn Section