Dry The River


After an extended organ drone intro, Dry The River arrive on stage looking more like The Eagles than ever – all hair and plaid. Lead singer Peter Liddle is clad head-to-toe in white and looks like Gareth from The Office playing Jesus. They crack on with the title track of their recently released second album Alarms In The Heart. Highlight track ‘New Ceremony’ from their debut album Shallow Bed sparks an early singalong, closely followed by a surprisingly warm welcome for slightly duff comeback single ‘Gethsemane’. ‘Hidden Hand’ and ‘Vessels’ are the best songs off the new record and the ones that stand out here. It doesn’t even seem to matter that ‘Hidden Hand’ appears to be mostly about gardening as a metaphor for religion (as I understand it), and ‘Vessels’ crystalline strains of violin provide a refreshing change of texture.

The set tonight is evenly split between their two records, the latter half more weighted to newbie Alarms in the Heart. It’s a more downbeat record but that allows the band to show off their vocal harmony chops, which is no mean feat in the concrete box of Academy 2. It does however come at the cost of the noisy extended refrains that the band seemed to revel in at last year’s festival appearances.

Of course they save ‘No Rest’ for when your writer decides to go to the bar, but it did mean I have the pleasure of overhearing one man ask his friend if he’d heard of Fleet Foxes. When his friend said no, he helpfully explains that Dry The River sound like Fleet Foxes. My kind of review. Fortunately Dry The River’s crowd are particularly easy to negotiate with a pair of pints in hand. Having found my girlfriend again and delivered her birthday present of a pint of Red Stripe (no expense spared), it’s not long before they’re all done and dusted. A brief wait and they return with a crap joke about having to go off and then come back on again because it’s The Rules. A lovely intimate pair of acoustic songs sees more lovely harmonising and Scott Miller caressing his bass guitar like it’s a puppy he doesn’t want to wake.

All of which leads us gently into closer ‘Weights & Measures’, ending the night on a high note. Note to all bands reading: if you think it’s weird to do an encore, don’t do one. No one’s going to hold it against you, you’re in charge around here. Play all your songs and then go home if that’s what you want to do. Also, don’t play your best songs when I go to the bar halfway through please. Thanks very much.

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Andy Vine

Like all cis-male atopic half Welshmen, I'm a big fan of shouty indie, noisy drone and the daytime Radio 1 playlist. Outside of punk rock my primary interests are tea (white no sugar please) and beer (brown no sugar please). When I'm not writing about stuff for Silent Radio I'm occasionally doing my own stuff which you can read about at if you want (you should).