Howler + Broken Hands + Elephantine, The Temple, The Institute, Birmingham 28/03/14

Howler (1)
Howler
Shortly following the release of their sophomore effort, ‘World of Joy’, Minneapolis quartet Howler flaunted their dazzling surf-punk gait to fans at The Institute’s Temple, and they were not alone in terms of leaving an excellent impression behind.
Elephantine
Elephantine
Birmingham three piece, Elephantine were up first, and if the meagre crowd that began the night were still groggy and work-dazed, this was most certainly a wake-up call you couldn’t ignore. They were a refreshingly beefy and discordant joy, with the oppressive and harsh instrumentation clashing delightfully with the subtle melodic undertones and front-woman Anna Palmers wonderfully disjointed vocals, all the while with a very ‘Siouxsie and the Banshees’ vibe stumbling around throughout.
Broken Hands
Broken Hands
Broken Hands were the penultimate act, and the Canterbury foursome pulled out an incredible set, as the crowd began to start to resemble something of an audience. With striped down drums, wide guitars and vocalist Dale Norton channelling his inner Ashcroft, Broken Hands definitely have the ‘back-to-basics’ style of indie-rock down, and with an almost effortless mix of the anthemic and melancholic, they certainly have what it takes to continue their slow but steady rise of popularity, most recently noticeable by their inclusion on the Black Sabbath Time bill this summer at Hyde Park.
Howler (3)
Howler
And as the crowd grew exponentially, so did the pressure on Howler to follow Broken Hands superb, near show-stealing performance, but any thoughts of being upstaged were allayed within two minutes of their taking the stage. Jovially introducing themselves as Katy B, Howler dove straight into their sun-tinged set of indie-punk stand-outs, with tracks such as ‘Drip’ and ‘Back of your Neck’ fully animating the modest crowd into a sing-a-long conglomerate of bodies.
Howler (2)
Howler
Whilst their high-octane manner contrasted quite heavily with the previous acts, it proved to show just why they were one of the most hotly tipped bands of the last 4 years, and on this performance, ‘World of Joy’ looks set to build on all that unbridled potential that ‘America, Give Up’ first hinted at.
Photographs by Rob Hadley