Thursday night, December 3rd, WTTS kicked off its Christmas Can Concert series at The Bluebird in Bloomington. This first show featured Indiana natives, Houndmouth, and special guest Moon Taxi.
The Bluebird was buzzing with music, WTTS listeners, and canned goods being dropped into a bin to benefit Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard in Bloomington. Green Bean Delivery even donated two pounds of fresh produce to the food pantry for each person in attendance. It is the season of giving, after all.
Moon Taxi opened for Houndmouth and entertained the crowd as if they were the headliner. The Nashville-based indie-progressive rock band’s performance was captivating. They played songs like “Year Zero” and “All Day All Night.” The crowd was singing along as if maybe they had come out to see Moon Taxi and Houndmouth was an added bonus! Moon Taxi was unassumingly electric with a simple stage setup and immense sound. They set the stage quite well for the excitement to come.
WTTS DJ Rob Humphrey introduced Houndmouth and the room went somewhat quiet for the only time that evening in anticipation. The band starts to enter the stage casually while the crowd hears a most appropriate song being played through the monitors. The crowd gradually recognizes their stage entrance song to be the Indiana University fight song and sings along with great pride. It set the tone perfectly.
Members of Houndmouth are based in Louisville but were born and raised in New Albany, Indiana (less than two hours from The Bluebird). Houndmouth’s vintage country influence may stem from their roots in Louisville and brings an intriguing interest to their indie rock sound. The lead singer looks like a 1950s greaser in a cool black jacket and slick, black hair. The drummer wears a fur coat and the keyboard player looks like an indie rock version of a 1920s flapper girl. On such a small, simple stage, their appearance alone takes the audience to another place and time.
Houndmouth opens with “Black Gold” and the crowd is absolutely electrified. At one point both the lead singer, Matt Myers, and bass player, Zak Appleby, changed their shirts to Indiana University garb and won the crowd over with ease. WTTS listeners were absolutely smitten with Houndmouth’s wide array of sounds and songs. The energy from the stage transferred to the crowd with every single song; It was extremely impressive. This created a beautiful vocal battle between the band with their microphones and the audience with their beer-soaked voices.
Highlights of the evening included “15 Years,” “Penitentiary,” “Say It,” and “Sedona.” During “Gasoline” (a song in which keyboard player Katie Toupin performs lead vocals) the crowd immediately screamed the lyrics back to her and she utters with obvious pride on her face, “Maybe you guys have heard this song…” After closing with “Sedona” Myers returns to the stage for a solo performance of “For No One,” followed by “Casino (Bad Things)” and “My Cousin Greg.”
Once Houndmouth exited the stage for the final time, the crowd was left buzzing. Beer was spilled, voices were hoarse, and hands were raw from clapping along to Houndmouth that night. In the words of Houndmouth’s Matt Myers, “It’s good to be around a bunch of Hoosiers for a while…”
Thanks so much to all WTTS listeners in attendance at the first WTTS Christmas Can Concert of the season. Sunday night, December 6th, Leon Bridges will play the second Christmas Can Concert to a sold out Bluebird. If we don’t see you there, be sure to check out the VIP room and Concert Connection page for more ways to experience the music.