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Writer Gal

April 2017

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Writer Gal

"Sing It Loud Till Your Throat Is Sore": Haunt the House at Perks and Corks

When last I wrote of Perks and Corks, we'd gone to see Glenn Kendzia release "Crooked Words" into the wild.

Tonight, Sita and I made a last-minute, post-spaghetti decision to go see Will Houlihan in his solo project "Haunt the House."

Perks and Corks

Sita dressed for the Town

Occasionally Houlihan unsoloed in favor of sharing the stage with guitarist/vocalist Jim DeMarco. Also featured were guitarist/vocalist Paul Rakotoarisoa (another formidable young songwriter -- what is it about Westerly?) and singer Allie Woodard (whose voice is much like the silver starfish that glinted at her throat). The music was no less uncanny for the company. 

Between the steel-cut twang of DeMarco's electric hollow body and the gentler ripple of Houlihan's acoustic, the precise crescendos, deep drops, tight harmonies, and melancholy layered with regret layered with poison and starlight and bone, this is the kind of music that might indeed "haunt you like a ghost."

Houlihan and DeMarco 

Houlihan, Woodard, Rakotoarisoa

Houlihan's voice is the kind you don't want to hear singing up at you from the bottom of an old well. If it calls out from a difficult, mist-obscured patch of bog, don't follow it down. If you hear it floating up from the tombs as you pass a graveyard, walk away quickly, stop your ears with wax, scatter salt.

His range is both flexible and steely, with a warm burr at the bottom and a razor glitter at the top. There is a kind of cry built into it. And then he played the harmonica.

...The harmonica is such a conversational instrument, because its sound latches to the breath. A note is either inhaled or exhaled. Harmonicas first gasp, then wail, and then sustain -- for a long perfect moment -- that single sweet note. 

Entertaining as all this was, the true star of the evening was a Neil Young fan, who sat a chair away from the performers and begged -- between songs or during them -- to "Play some Neil. How 'bout some Neil?" 

"How 'bout some Will Houlihan?" the musician suggested. More than once. 
"Neil!" bellowed the fan. 
Another fellow said, finally, "Last time I saw a Neil Young concert, this guy was sitting there saying, How 'bout some Will Houlihan?"

So there's no pleasing some folks, I guess. 

I was mighty pleased myself. Might just go catch the next show on Friday at the Malted Barley. 9 PM. 


You are kicking ass at the music writing, Peabody. Also, I am jealous of your coffee shop. I want a coffee shop to sit at that is comfy. All there is is Starbucks around this joint and that's some loud, corporate choice of music shit.
Oh, Patty -- I think of you as I write these posts, you know. Between you and Sam, I learned how to write about music... But only in your very long shadows. I've stolen your picture-taking technique. But lack your raw punkrockness, Sam's hardcore vocabulary, and both of your encyclopedic cross-referencing breadth of back-knowledge.

Still. If I do anything right in this, it's mostly due you two.

Edited at 2012-03-08 05:46 pm (UTC)
I repeat, you are kicking ass. Plus, pictures make almost everything better. Like I could say, "Cooney dressed as a warrior slaying evil ancient beings," and that is pretty badass, but I would LOVE to see the picture.