There’s nothing quite like playing your hometown, which is something that tonight’s main support, Glass City Vice, know all too well as they take to stage to a few friendly whoops from onlookers.
Their melody-driven alt rock goes down well with the fast-growing crowd, and they have some killer harmonies to boot (and if there’s one thing a Dry The River crowd like, it’s vocal harmonies). As the set continues, they really get into their stride, showing off a rockier side that offers up some stellar riffs and a strong rhythm section that has heads bobbing all around us.
A more heartfelt track featured beautiful guitar lines and a euphoric chorus of “I will meet you there,” which built up into a climactic finish. At this point the four piece were a flurry of high energy and had an increased confidence that it would have been nice to see from the beginning.
72nd Street is the b-side to their new single Landslide. We actually preferred it to the single itself, with lovely harmonies acting as a backdrop and an atmospheric finish. Landslide shows off their upbeat, poppier side, and whilst it’s catchy and certainly radio-friendly, we prefer it when the Brighton boys show a little more depth in their musical style.
Their closer was a little darker, with plenty of attitude and which provided an opportunity for them to totally rock out towards the end, much to the delight of the crowd. A promising finish, and it certainly leaves us wanting to check out their stuff upon our return home.
Tonight’s stars however, are the incomparable Dry The River. Their ethereal harmonies are stunning and their pure musical prowess trumps any amount of showmanship they could offer as they stand relatively static throughout the set. The only exception is bass player Scott, who looks and acts like a rockstar with his long hair and power stances on the drum riser which we love to watch. It’s Scott that does the talking, thanking us all for coming out a few songs into the set, to which a crowd member responds “thank you Jesus” (admittedly, he does look a lot like Jesus would if he had tattoos and played bass).
Opener Alarms in the Heart, the title track from their latest album, kicks off the set with their trademark folk-infused rock. The Stratford quartet play a healthy mixture of songs off both of their albums, but it’s probably the older songs off debut album Shallow Bed that go down the best. These include songs such as New Ceremony, which they played early on, Family, and the epic Lion’s Den, a song that has even more raw power in a live setting. Introverted singer Peter gives his all to the lofty heights of his soothing vocal. His voice is unique in that it envokes a therapeutic response, but is also highly emotive. Bible Belt sees everybody in the room enthralled by harmonies that trump those on the recorded version. “We’ve been playing this every day for the past five years,” joked Scott. Well boys, it’s paid off.
Newer track Vessel offers something different again, as the keyboardist took up a violin and guitarist Matthew takes a bow to his guitar (yes, really). To finish the main part of the set they perform a mesmerizing No Rest, before an encore that takes two older songs and brings them back to life.
It’s not often that a band sound better live than they do on record, but Dry The River undoubtedly thrive in a live setting and create an atmosphere of high octane emotions that can only come from being there in the flesh. If you’re a fan (or even if you’re not as it’s sure to convert you), we suggest you get down to one of their live shows ASAP.
By Alice Hudson