SXSW Review: Dry the River, March 15, Stubb’s

Dry The River

Austin, TX – It can be a hard thing to stand out these days, as everyone is bombarded in crossflows of  influences from every corner reachable by the internet at a background level. This is exacerbated at SXSW, of course. For better or worse, I trust my instincts more so than acquired taste when it comes to Southby. Bands often have 15 seconds to showcase their talents. I remember coworkers commenting on hearing my headphones from across the room when New Ceremony popped up among the 100 NPR samplers. It hit all the right buttons – catchy hooks, explosive chorus, and a voice/harmony that solidifies the weed-filled slipstreams into grassy fields of Austria as you skip down 6th street.

Dry The River

Well, OK, I could be overselling. Dry the River is a 5-piece from Stratford with tattoo sleeves on at least 6 arms. This indie but counter-culture exterior belies their music though. What we heard was a soft expressions that perhaps grew out of personal experiences. The set was shorter than I’d liked, only 7 songs if memory and arithmetic serves, but not low on substance. The stage play has the heaviness of the Antlers, thin on raw physical presence, high on melancholy, and  much hair. Both the main vocal and bass were laden with locks so thick that I had problems finding their eyes if they motioned their heads to mimick calligraphy brushes while jamming. A lesson against stereotyping, I guess. One song that I would have loved to hear live, Weights and Measures, was omitted. I highly suggest a listen: it’s one powerful punch that perfectly illustrates their sound. The sampler New Ceremony was played with much enthusiasm, though. There were few filler songs on display and they ended the set with Lion’s Den, I believe. This is a song that reminds me of the theme from a Taiwanese movie form my childhood, and ends with a minute-long instrumental segment that built up to an orchestra-style finish like any self-respecting rock song… and the crowd went slightly wild with solid acknowledgement for the single home run. If given the chance (apparently Rolling Stones had already labeled them something of a must-see) to play a larger venue (OK, Stubb’s is almost as big as they get in SXSW), I do believe Dry the River can deliver something even more spectacular. I’m looking forward to that.

Dry the River, Stubb's, March 15 2012

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Posted on by Gary in Everything, Reviews, South By Southwest

3 Responses to SXSW Review: Dry the River, March 15, Stubb’s

  1. Sara M

    Amazing pictures. I really hope I can see them live someday. Just listening to their music gives me chills. The music and the lyrics are just so powerful and ugh, love it. Cannot wait for Shallow Bed on 4/17.

  2. d203music

    Seeing these pictures makes me even more excited to see them next week! I really like their video for “weights and measures”, really dark and emotional. I recommend watching it if you haven’t seen it

  3. Amanda Dissinger

    seeing Dry the River on the 23rd in NYC. seriously can’t wait to see their live set- they’re one of my new favorite bands!!

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