Dry The River hit Nottingham’s Bodega to promote their new single: ‘Roller-skate’ and in their words, to catch “all the towns and cities we missed on our UK and US tours in September and October”. Nottingham seemed very glad to not be missed this time.
Support band, Blaenavon have the ability to provide the perfect soundtrack to long summer nights, which provided a welcome break from the bitter weather outside the Bodega. The three-piece from Hampshire (despite being named after a Welsh town) brought their form of atmospheric indie rock to a packed, but relatively calm crowd. Thundering basslines pounding away under finger picked guitar chords and gentle vocal melodies created songs that seem to exist somewhere between modern day Arctic Monkeys and Alice in Chains’ mini-album Jar of Flies. Musically the band was faultless with songs such as ‘Alice Come Home’ and ‘Denim Patches’ standing out as particularly impressive. They weren’t the most exciting band to watch, mostly remaining stationary throughout their set. The music went a long way to making up for this and they are certainly worth checking out. I’d be surprised if they aren’t picked up as one of the next big Indie bands in the coming years.
After Blaenavon left the stage a long gap did little to break the excitement throughout the crowd for headliners Dry the River. The band walked onstage to an outrageous roar from the filled Bodega. The night provided a wonderful experience in which crowd and band members all seemed genuinely excited to be involved. The excitement was then increased as the band announced that it was bassist Scott Miller’s birthday. From this moment the entire gig felt like a celebration, not just for Miller’s sake but for a fantastic group of musicians to be appreciated for their accomplishments as a band.
The crowd remained largely static throughout the show but the cheers at the end of every song and the wonderfully off-key sing-alongs expressed the enjoyment well. The beauty of this show was displayed in its contrast. The band were able to switch from soulful a cappella based harmonies to all out alternative rock instantaneously, something Dry the River harness incredibly well. Every musician was on point not only playing accurately but echoing haunting harmonies that rival the Beach Boys. By the time they reached crowd favourite ‘Bible Belt’ everyone was aware of talent being displayed. ‘No Rest’ and ‘Weights & Measures’ were as impressive and well received as the whole gig.
Reaching the end of their set the band somewhat reluctantly pulled the usual rock star move of finishing with a stunning encore. It wasn’t that they hadn’t wanted to play more but rather were critical of the concept of an encore, as Miller put “This our last song… before we go and awkwardly hide behind that door waiting to come back out and play our actual last songs”. This show was proof, if anyone needed any, that Dry the River are not only an impressive musical force but one of the best things alternative rock has to offer at the moment.
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