Howlin Rain | The Echo (Los Angeles, CA) | May 23, 2014 |
For quite some time, Howlin Rain (basically Ethan Miller) has been that crash course in full-blooded psych rock ala those albums from the 70’s that you wish you still had on vinyl and only the luckiest of bastards do. Howlin Rain just released a live album appropriately titled Live Rain and live is quite the crystallization of Miller’s brand of blood filled, rapturous, dark musical ecstasy.
Howlin Rain is always equipped with constant moving parts/rotating players as the only firm fixture within is Miller. The latest incarnation of the band includes three righteous players/session musicians: Jeff McElroy (bass), Daniel Cervantes (guitar) and Nobuko Kemmotsu (drums) are the new crew carrying on an old flame. This is only their third live show together and, while the wheels may need some lubrication in order to hit the ground running from the first song on during the rest of this tour, this set rolled out loud and with that certain signature abandon that Miller, alone, carries in the pocket of his butterfly collar shirt.
Some moments, it’s like Creedence Clearwater Revival meets Frank Zappa; other moments is like listening to the pretty colors whether or not you’ve swallowed a handful of ‘shrooms. The thing is the balance of hot and cool, the burn and the simmer of the guitar mayhem/chaos coupled with Miller’s high and open-throated soul wail and spastic out of control/under control body parts flailing. Figments of one’s imagination were welcome thanks to the crazy ass, truly psychedelic visuals playing as a back drop that could not have been any more apropos if they tried. Initiating the room with “Big Red Moon,” they traversed familiar Howlin Rain territory of throwback and freshness from “Meet In The Wheat” to “Roll On Rusted Days” and “Calling Lightening Pt 2” like the delicate sound of thunder that they are.
This is graceful stuff… if you like a little bombast on the darker side.