If the sound of By the Rivers could be categorised as weather, it would be very similar to the gloriously sunny Saturday on which they entertained Great Escape festival-goers on Brighton pier. The six-piece reggae outfit from Leister filled Horatio’s bar with summertime vibes and an infectious skank, making the sun seem to shine that little bit brighter.
Having previously supported the likes of Groundation, The Selector and The Wailers, the crowd may have not been as big as BTR are used to, however this did not affect the energy that was put into the performance. Every band member was bouncing around the stage (with special reference to bassist Will Todd who has some of the best moves I’ve seen) with a true adoration for the music they were playing. This energy soon spread to the audience and the empty space in front of the barrier-somewhat reminiscent of underage discos – soon filled with people dancing.
The performance featured a variety of musical quips from guitar and keys solos, brass breaks and heavy bass riffs all overlaid with a wonderful three part harmony between frontman Nile Barrow, drummer Jordan Birtles and keys player Sam Read. The songs were very strong lyrically, commenting on current states of poverty and political systems, delivered with genuine heartfelt for the subject matter. BTR performed a mix of tracks from their first self-titled album as well as a large amount new material showing a lot of promise for a second that is hopefully not too far away.
With their 30 minute set finishing all too soon, I left wanting more of their addictive sound. Already appearing on the bill for several festivals, the Leicester six piece will no doubt be providing the soundtrack to many people’s summers, hopefully once again bringing the sun.
By Gavin Jones