Dry The River + Gengahr LIVE @ The Library, Birmingham – 10/10/2014

After a summer of festivals including an appearance on the main stage of Reading & Leeds, and also the release of their second album Alarms In The Heart, it was time for Dry The River’s charming, peaceful melodies to grace the stage of venues across the country.

Label friends Gengahr don’t think twice about revealing their light and blissful sound. Bringing falsetto vocals and lo-fi tunes to the table, the London quartet plunge the already packed Library into big MGMT sounding riffs. Filling their set with tracks like debut single Fill My Gums With Blood and Powder, everyone’s left in silence whilst in admiration of the emotion-filled music echoing around the room.

Last time Dry The River made a trip to Birmingham it was for a one-off intimate treat at the Hare & Hounds, but tonight sees them once again with a sell-out crowd however in the much larger space of the Institute’s Library. Led on stage by frontman Peter Liddle, kitted out boldly in his all in-white suit, it doesn’t take long for an impression to be made. Starting off with the new, Hidden Hand begins the angelic tone set for the night leading into the crowd favourite New Ceremony. It’s not soon till the Strat gets switched for an acoustic leaving behind the big riffs and substituting in even weightier harmonies.

The new album doesn’t receive the same level of participation as Shallow Bed, nonetheless the unsettling silence during the likes of Gethsemane and Med School leave a big impression on Liddle as he’s soon to thank everyone for their politeness. Then again, the lost in thought crowd doesn’t last long as the silence is soon interrupted by the loud applause which completes every song performed.

“You’ll all know this one” everyone gets told as the opening strums of Lion Den begin. It’s a matter of seconds before bows materialise leaving guitars to form a makeshift string section and bassist Scott Miller to accompany with soulful harmonies until the thundering, snarling outro breaks out which leans more towards the Dry The River you’d expect behind the beards. The race to the end of the set is partly comprised of a run of 3 new tracks, all keeping to the gospel-like styling that they work so perfectly. Keeping everything mellow, No Rest finishes off with a faded finish that leaves the feeling it can’t just end there.

A quick breather off stage saw a lone frontman join the stage once again with a single guitar to play once again. “I was ready to go home!” He jokes whilst being joined by everyone bar drummer Jon Warren to begin an even more sedative version of History Book, this carries on into Shaker Hymns which once again gives a chance to showcase their notorious saintly vocals which resonate around the room. The gentle, lulling riffs interrupt any conversations in the crowd, getting everyone ready for the clincher Weights & Measures. A quick announcement of this being the finale signals the arrival of everyone on stage but the a Capella intro leaves everyone anticipating for the return of the powerful yet modest riffs that have been seen all night. They finish Birmingham off with a small conflict between their godly vocals and high volume amps that leaves sign of a restraint at all as they fit together perfectly.

On the record they might break your heart and cause a couple of tears with emotion-filled verse but live, the action-packed riffs and divine harmonies expose them as more than a harmless producer of folk-rock.


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