Concert Review: Dry The River, September 25, The Garrison

I will admit that when any band gets heavily hyped, I am often simultaneously hopeful and skeptical. Hopeful that it will be as good as everyone says it is, but always a bit doubtful as to whether they can live up to the hype. In the case of London folk rockers Dry The River, I can attest that these guys do have the goods live. Of course, I knew that already, having caught the band at this past summer’s Roskilde festival in Denmark.  Before that, what I had heard of their recorded output sounded good, yet hadn’t strongly piqued my interest. After seeing them live though, I was struck by their songcraft and strong vocal harmonies. And having seen them in a festival setting, I was now curious to see how it would translate to a smaller club setting.

And the answer was that they still sounded good, albeit with a bit of a shaky start to things. Entering the stage to the strains of Rush’s “Limelight,” the band began playing “Shield your Eyes” but had to cut it short and start again after the song was overwhelmed by massive amounts of feedback. Apparently, this was the first time they’d ever had to do that. If that’s true, it’s an impressive track record.  Despite a few sound issues, the band quickly settled into a groove. Barefoot singer Peter Liddle led the group through a set of songs from their debut Shallow Bed, which highlighted the aforementioned vocal harmonies. These dudes can sing – I’m talking CSNY level harmonies. Even without the harmonies, Liddle’s got a pretty impressive voice, one reminiscent of singers like Patrick Watson or Jeff Buckley. And their songs ain’t bad either, with each number ending in a big emotional crescendo. 

The crowd was certainly into it throughout the show, singing along with every word to every song and just generally getting worked up.  At times, it was just as rewarding to watch the audience reaction as it was to watch the band. And then of course, by the end of the show, the boundaries between audience and performer had all but disappeared. “We’ve had as much fun on this stage as we’re going to have,” announced the band as they returned to the stage for an encore and then promptly left the stage, taking the show out into the middle of the crowd for one last song on the floor. While this is by no means a new trick, it’s certainly an effective one.

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Posted on by Paul in Concerts

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