Gig Review: Dry The River @ The Cluny
By Robert Nichols on May 4, 2012 in Music
Every now and then you get a gig that stops you in your tracks. It might take a while to really grip you. It is building all the while from the first vocal pleasantries of the singer. By the middle of the final song, the band are laying it on thick, hair flying in all directions, piling on the guitars, piling into the drums and sparks are flying from the violin that is working overtime. And the alt folk has somehow become transformed to full on rock attack.
That energy transfers itself from stage to a sell out, spellbound crowd. The hairs are standing up to attention on the back of your neck. It is then that you feel you are in one of those special shared, near spiritual moments. Ladies and gentleman I am describing the final minutes of Dry The River’s gig at the Cluny. Absolutely, resolutely, magical.
But back to the start of the night at a positively buzzing Cluny. Calico kicked us off in fine indie guitar fashion. The young Teessiders have managed to wed melody and intensity to forge something interesting and memorable. Welsh darlings of BBC Introducing Cut Ribbons stand out from the crowd with their sound blasting guitars and distinctive female/male vocal blending. They surely won’t be left waiting on the unsigned shelf for much longer.
Dry The River stepped up to the mark, long hair, beards and lack of shoes. But no lack of musical quality, imagination or passion for their craft. They drew most of their set from their superb debut album, Shallow Bed, released just at the start of March but already making musical waves with critics and public alike.
Between songs of folk fragility or uplifting intensity the band trade witty comments. The singer revealed that the drummer is said to be a dead ringer for Louis Theroux. The drummer squirmed. The bass player lifted up a white hat presented to them on stage at Leeds the night before and now carrying the evening’s set list written in indelible marker pen. It was pounced upon by a multitude of grasping hands when flung into the crowd.
The singer sidestepped the microphone for 2011 EP title track, Weights and Measures, his unplugged voice accompanied by a solitary acoustic guitar and two harmonising vocals. The whole venue was hushed into silence and the full beauty of the lyrics and gentle melody taken on board by one and all. Additional layers of instrumentation cranked up the emotional pull and power and we were immersed in the flow of a violin led magical maelstrom.
Dry The River could just be the perfect antidote to any musical drought.