Photos by Daniel Robson.
Emerging electro-pop pin-up, Chlöe Howl performed her first show in Newcastle last night at renovated storage unit/warehouse Think Tank? in the city’s creative hub, Hoult’s Yard. The biting wind blowing in off the North Sea did little to deter the few dozen music buffs huddled inside the venue, eager to catch a glimpse of the recent Sony-signee.
Chlöe sparked her all-too-brief set off with the elastic bass distortions and kitchen-sink witticisms of ‘Rumour’ before skipping gracefully through the stabbing Italo synth strings of ‘Drop In The Ocean’.
Joined by her guitarist and bassist on ‘I Wish I Could Tell You’, Chlöe revealed a degree of maturity in her boisterous pipes; an ember of fierce independence burning underneath those patterned dungarees and layers of pristine pop production. Her self-proclaimed “emotional song”, its aqueous synth swells tumbling into waves of soothing bass, blocky percussion and sharp drum pad raps. It goes without saying that hit-to-date ‘No Strings’ sounded every inch the muscular anthem-in-waiting we already knew it was. Even in this cavernous space it left us convinced that if Taylor or Katy had penned that chorus, the pop universe would have been reduced to a smouldering husk.
Chloe ended on ‘This Song Is Not About You’, an 80’s synth pop intro of plinky A-ha style keyboard lines shape shifting into mid-00’s lighters up indie via snare heavy drumbeats and swirling three-part harmonies. By the way the 17-year-old bashfully thanked the crowd afterwards; it’s hard to tell if she’s aware of her status as the UK’s brightest, stylistically diverse and above all, most sensitive cred-pop hope of 2013. At least we’re all certain now.