Houndmouth may be on their way to the main stage, but their show at the Bluebird on Thursday night showed they still love playing on the small ones.

"We're from Indiana, and this is like the historical Indiana place to play," lead singer and guitarist Matt Meyers said of the venue. Houndmouth has performed for both Conan O'Brien and David Letterman, but the New Albany band hasn't forgotten where they came from. The band opened up the current leg of their tour at the Bluebird, and each member thanked everyone in attendance for the warm welcome at least once.

The Bluebird lent itself well to Houndmouth's brand of rock n' roll. Audience members raised their bottles of Coors into the air as they shouted along with the choruses of each song. And Meyers, wearing an oversized Katy Perry shirt semi-ironically and sipping from a bottle of Bulleit whiskey, embodied his band's sound: hip, but not afraid to get a little sleazy.

Houndmouth was on a roll, at home beneath the Bird's exposed rafters. As they reached the second climactic chorus of "Krampus," a chandelier hanging from those rafters lit up, illuminating the first few rows of people. Bassist Zak Appleby grinned from ear to ear. Organist Kate Toupin, her face glistening under the stage lights, flipped her hair back and forth. Drummer Shane Cody took his brawn to the beat behind his bushy beard.

The full, but not packed, Bluebird had a mix of middle-aged rock n' roll fans and hip college kids. Houndmouth succeeds because the band knows how to write catchy hooks. But all the members sing, often all at once during the heavily harmonized choruses. So fans of any range can find a note that's comfortable to belt along with the band.

The band was full of energy, class, and wit. "I tweeted Tom Crean and told him he was on the list if he wanted to come," Cody said.

The coach did not show, unfortunately.

With only an album and an EP so far, fans likely heard every Houndmouth song they wanted to hear. The band switched off lead singers frequently, differentiating enough to keep the audience engaged.

They even had room for a few covers. They tackled the Beatles' "Golden Slumbers" and "Carry That Weight" before segueing into a reserved version of their own "Halfway to Hardinsburg."

And after coming back for an encore and playing fan favorite "Penitentiary," they jammed through a slow version of Bob Dylan's "I Shall Be Released." A tribute to an American master whose influence is omnipresent in their music was a fitting end for Houndmouth's excellent set.

Post by Jacob Klopferstein

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