Gas Lamp was a sold-out venue last Saturday for Holy White Hounds’ EP-release show, and all who showed up got their money’s worth.
Kicking things off in proper fashion were The New Bodies, a Des Moines rock outfit anchored by Chris Ford, Thomas Logan, Brandon Rushill and Dustin Harmsen, but whose bills are paid by front man Adam Bartelt. Reminding more than one Gas Lamp patron of a young Bob Dylan, Bartelt’s vocals were strong and defiant, and sounded especially good on Gas Lamp’s slightly revamped sound setup that has the vocals coming across cleaner and more distinct.
Second up was Viva Montesa. It’s no secret that the Des Moines two-piece is a longtime favorite of mine, but the duo turned out a legitimately solid set this evening, save for some issues on their penultimate song of the evening. The Schwick boys are currently working on a new album of their own, and their Gas Lamp set featured a healthy mix of their older songs and the new material.
But this evening belonged to Holy White Hounds, which made it count. Much has been said about the band’s collaboration with The Envy Corps’ Brandon Darner, but the latter’s influence cannot be over-stated. Holy White Hounds has always had the right stuff under the hood, but Darner’s input — and the band’s willingness to drink the Kool Aid — has turned it into a more solid, more entertaining group. It’s no coincidence that the band’s live shows are becoming better, tighter experiences just as the music is reaching new creative highs. Dean and bassist Ambrose Lupercal have committed themselves to a new direction, and what we’re witnessing right now is a band that’s turned a corner. Holy White Hounds are for real. CV