Its like The Black Keys and The Beastie Boys had a nasty baby with a blues howl. Dreaming Bull gets us hooked with "No Use."
Even old lap dogs bay at the moon. That feral impulse is woven through our DNA we all, sometimes, want to stomp and shout. Need to, maybe. Thats why theres Dreaming Bull.
We lay some pain on the stage, says Gabe Rowland. Grab the devil by the jugular.
The band is a work of collaborative art by Rowland and Nic Capelle. It was a chance meeting between music lifers: Gabes band opened for Nics in Chicago, the two Gabe from East LA and Nic from Western Australia bonded over a mutual love of dusty, old vintage gospel and lost blues. As they shared music and ideas for six months, mostly via email attachment, until it was time to consummate the partnership.
On an ice-cold walk down Irving Park in Chicago, Gabe explains, we decided: heavy gospel influence, a little garage-psychedelic We always acknowledge those parameters, Gabe continues, but the music takes on a life of its own. Once it gets dragged through all the early Van Halen records that are in your gut, its going to come out modern.
So lets be clear: Dreaming Bull is a contemporary beast, replete with bass patrolling the deep trenches, crafty electronics and a pair of vamps singing backup. Their sound is increasingly prized by music supervisors. No Use added dramatic punch to the season finale of USAs Suits. And thats not the only place youve heard Dreaming Bull without knowing it: Get Things Done soundtracked Carls Jr.s X-Men: Days of Future Past ad; Dirty Girl fit the vibe for FXs Sons of Anarchy.
No use exemplifies their approach. The song begins with a Delta thumb-picking Solo, Nics slide echoing like ghosts from the crossroads. But that nostalgic half minute is kicked out the front door by beat thats both funky and pounds like your worst hangover.
Then theres the fervor of Nics klaxon vocals. Thats one of the secrets of the band they dont have to crank it to 11 to get loud. In conversation, Nic is soft-spoken and affable, but in front of a band, that guy is possessed of an unholy howl a former bandmate, the first time he heard it at full volume, called it liquid nails.
When we practice I dont even use a microphone because my voice is so fuckin loud, he says.
That human bullhorn is more than matched for power by the drums. Nic likens Gabes combination of power and precision knowing full well hes treading on sacred territory to Led Zepplins John Bonham. You get a sense of what hes talking about with Feed Us. The songs builds off a heavier idea of what the '50s called a jungle beat. As Nics wide-eyed wailing is layered between congregation handclaps and a low-end to unsettle your stomach. Live, theyve been known to coax Mel Tormes Comin Home Baby to heavy places without losing any of its jazzy pulse.
Thats why anyone in vicinity of the stage is leaving the club spent and sweaty.
A lot of craft goes into what sounds like abandon. Gabe sat behind the kit for Moby and Fiona Apple and his own bands Momma Stud (Virgin) and The Peak Show (Atlantic), and is a go-to collaborator for Beastie Boys producer Mario C. Nics first band won an international talent search when he was 20. His later outfit Capelle built a fierce following in Europe.
When they met, however, they realized they were missing something. We have our own accomplishments as writers, Gabe says. But in collaboration, the unexpected happens every single time.
We do everything ourselves, Nic adds. We record our own music, make our own videos, do our own branding We have control. But our whole life is on the line.
We take the essence of what is rock and roll, Gabe continues, and deliver it with all the heart we have.
Theres a feeling of being overtaken by magic, Nic says. Not to sound crass, but its like a religious experience for me.
Dirty juke joint blues and gospel shouts to rattle the back pew run deep through rock 'n rolls genetic code. Something as powerful as the sacred and as fun as the profane? Its enough to make you stomp and shout. Thats why theres Dreaming Bull.