Since the last time I saw Howling Bells their sound seems more professional. Unfortunately it's wasted on this Saturday night crowd at the Club Academy who seem to be more interested in chatting to their mates over the PA than listening to the band. It doesn't go unnoticed by Howling Bells, with singer Juanita Stein calling the crowd rowdy and bassist Brendan Picchio commenting that the people in front of him have been chatting all the way through when they ask for a copy of the set list at the end.

When they played Manchester's Night and Day back in August, they incorporated a Dolly Parton song, 'False Eyelashes', into their set. This has now become a permanent addition for this tour at least, and it shows that they've got it together now. There's less banter, however, than at the Night and Day and it's a less intimate venue. Juanita is blinded by the lights and you get the feeling they are glad to get off stage. The crowd don't shout for an encore and they don't get one. Perhaps they wanted to see Lily Allen next door in the Academy's main venue and couldn't get in. Who knows ? It's a shame for those people who were there to see Howling Bells and didn't get to hear the rapport and see the fun side of them that was in evidence a couple of months earlier. Howling Bells are a great band with great music and both they and those of us who are genuinely interested in listening to them deserve a lot better.

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Commenting On: Club Academy, Manchester, 21/10/2006 - Howling Bells

ie London, England

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