The good vibes bar was set high when Hælos took to Howler
The good-vibes bar was set high early as Christopher Port broke-in the growing crowd with a track of warm swelling synths, tight garage, two-step and soulful vocal samples. The enthusiasm seemed to reverberate around the room as the set progressed and was very well-deserved. Port’s set had a spontaneous feel to it, and the surging bass and percussive breakdowns made good use of Howler’s system. Top stuff.
Next up was, Yeo, who not only was clearly enjoying himself, but managed to pull off a damn classy performance, have a lot of fun and charm the shit out of the crowd too. Complete with ripping keytar solo, Yeo dropped his cover of Japanese Wallpaper’s Forces. How did he manage to make that look cool? Accompanied by bold visuals and a live-drummer switching between the kit and his triggers, there was plenty of positive response for Yeo and his playful, energetic work. It was a controlled and pitch-perfect performance and judging by the gathering of social media snappers at the edge of the stage, there are many who know Yeo is a popstar waiting to happen.
Hælos took the stage right on time and seemed to barely put a foot wrong in. Press for the band will speak of their trip-hop lineage, and while that genre-tag is sometimes a reference to a certain amount of experimentality, what Hælos do is far more pop-driven with impeccable attention to detail. The vocals didn’t always harmonise, sometimes they avoided each other, giving space for the introspective content to stand alone. But this is emotional music writ-large and for every quieter moment there was something epic on its way. Seemingly playing each track off their 2016 debut, Full Circle, early single, Pray was a driving highlight with the choir-like call and response of dual vocals. Judging by the chit-chat in the crowd, the Londoners were well represented by expats and as the set rounded out, all in attendance seemed dosed with the right amount of cathartic-euphoria.
Words by Luke Fussell
Image by Dave Harris
Highlight: The overflowing positive response to every act.
Lowlight: Having to leave the womb-like comfort of the bandroom at Howler.
Crowd Favourite: Yeo’s keytar solo might have started a revolution.