Dan Howls is a bluesman. He’s a travelling showman who’ll pull and play his music to just about anyone who’ll listen. And, like the best of them, once he has an audience listening, he’ll work all sorts of magic on them with his guitar licks and growling vocals.
“When we get together and play as a band, it just feels a little bit electric. I don’t know, it just energises me being on stage with those five people. And, at festivals having big crowds to work with, just energises me and by the end of it we just end up covered in sweat and having a really good time.
“Knowing that your music and performance can transform a pretty chilled out crowd into a frenzy by the end of a 45 minute set is a pretty amazing thing to experience and it snowballs, it bounces back from the crowd to the performers and then it just bounces back and forth until everyone is a bot loose and crazy. It’s the best feeling in the world.”
For Howls, it all started back when he was a kid, with the blues taking serious hold of the artist in this 20s.
“I always loved listing to blues and I started mucking around a bit more with playing blues in my early 20s and I just fell in love with it. It was never really a question of would I do anything else, it was just that if I was going to write and play music professionally, that’s the sort of music I was always going to play. You always want to do something new and at the forefront as well, but having a blues background, it’s a really interesting and weird mix of people’s perceptions. You want to include blues, but you want to include something kind of new as well. You don’t just want to play 12-bar blues stuff all the time.
“I just love it. It just really speaks to me.
“Combining different elements, not just sticking to blues stuff. Our drummer will write stuff for example that draws on a whole range of genres and that doesn’t just stick to the formula of the blues. Sometimes we’ll throw in a break down that’d you’d normally hear in heavier sort music and we add lots of percussion instruments that make the sound really ‘janky’. We also go for a more jazzy feel at times. We just go for a sound that suits whatever we’re playing at the time and playing as a band has changed the way we write music and experimenting with different guitar tones as well.”
Playing two shows at Fairbridge, audiences can expect something a little bit different from each experience with Howls and his band.
“We’ve got a Saturday night show at the Backlot, the youth stage. We will definitely put on a really wild set there. We’re doing a Friday night set at Ruby’s as well, and we will expect to do the same thing, but we also want to make our two sets a bit different. Ruby’s on the Friday night will still work up to a really high rhythm, but that will be a more moody set with some violin and stuff, and the Saturday night will be our wild set, where we get everyone up and going a bit nuts.”
If you’re not allergic to going nuts, seek out Dan Howls and his band while you’re at Fairbridge.