East London folk rockers Dry The River headlined the Black Cat Backstage on Sept. 19 kicking off their 18-stop tour with Midwestern folk quartet Houndmouth.
Dry The River drew nearly 200 people to the venue, with most members of the audience finding themselves shoulder-to-shoulder in a semi-circle around the small stage while others lingered in the back near the bar.
As the voice of lead guitarist Peter Liddle blends with the background vocals of guitarist Matthew Taylor and bassist Scott Miller, it elicits a sound similar to that of Fleet Foxes. But the band’s mix of alternating gritty and soft guitars and rhythmic bass releases a raw energy that meshes well with the ambience of Will Harvey’s keyboards and violin.
This synergy is exemplified in the track “No Rest” from the 2012 full-length album “Shallow Bed,” as the introduction’s melancholic harmonies build up to an intense climax that matches Jon Warren’s smooth and calculated drumming.
“Weights and Measures” follows a similar formula but with a greater focus on lyrics that convey a sense of longing, which was well received by the audience.
The members of Dry The River had excellent stage presence, spurring many in the audience into dancing to the music. Band members also chatted with the crowd between songs.
Miller was in good spirits as he relaxed by the bar after the concert, taking photos with the guests who were lining up to talk to him. He said that he did not mind the fact that the band was moved from the main stage to the Backroom stage. When asked about the band’s prospects for the rest of the tour, he was enthusiastic.
“We’re gonna conquer the whole country,” Miller said.