Billy Howerdel with Vowws – Fine Line Music Café – Minneapolis, MN – June 24th, 2022

Billy Howerdel with Vowws Fine Line Music Café – Minneapolis, MN – June 24th, 2022

Review and photos by Kate Klaus

Billy Howerdel’s “What Normal Was” tour made a stop in Minneapolis at the Fine Line Music Café, and it was the perfect setting for an intimate evening of hauntingly beautiful and etereal music.  Australian death-pop duo Vowws started the evening taking the stage to a thick cloud of smoke and haze.  They opened with “The Season” off of their 2015 album “The Great Sun”.  Deep electronica sounds filled the room and heavy beats, while guitarist Matt James overlayed lighter guitar tones and vocals.  The set was dark and heavy, but with punchy and poppy beats that brought energy to the room and engaged the crowd.

Billy then took the stage, accompanied by guitarist Danny “Renholder” Lohner (formerly of Nine Inch Nails, A Perfect Circle, and others) as well as bassist Eliot Lorango, keyboardist Nyko and drummer Greyson Nekrutman. His set was comprised almost entirely of songs from his recently released solo album “What Normal Was”, opening with “Beautiful Mistake”, filling the room with evocative guitar tones and reflective and gentle vocals.  The songs on this album are reminiscent of his Ashes Divide work, with deep emotional vibes, intricate lyrics and rhythms, and a captivating clarity in sound, and yet with a fresh feel and sonic nuances.  While very humble and unassuming, Billy is a captivating performer. Fully absorbed in the music, he appears to become one with the tones coming out of his guitar and his voice reflects this same quiet emotionality that draws in the listener.  It’s impossible not to feel an emotional connection to his lyrics and his songs as you watch him perform them so gracefully.  Mixed in the middle of the set was Ashes Divide song “Forever Can Be”, which raised the energy in the room.  Keyboardist Nyko provided backing vocals on numerous songs, and her beautiful soft voice paired perfectly with Billy’s and created a depth to the melancholy tones of some of the deeper songs. Drummer Greyson was phenomenal with crisp beats and quiet flair, bringing energy into the rhythm of the songs.  He played an incredible drum solo during a break between songs and is definitely a rising star on the music scene.  Bassist Eliot Lorango brought depth and added darkness to the music, with his deep tones reverberating throughout the intimate space.  While it was an intimate venue and a smaller crowd, the audience was deeply engaged and mesmerized by the depth of the music and the emotional delivery. He closed the set with the final track of the album “Stars”, with a mix of more heavy but melodic lines and concluding the night with a beautifully dark yet hopeful feel.