Dry The River

Dry The River @ Rock & Roll Hotel - 3/8/15

Dry The River @ Rock & Roll Hotel - 3/8/15

On Sunday night at the Rock and Roll Hotel, English folk-rock band Dry the River made the long-awaited DC stop on their tour supporting their second album, Alarms In the Heart, which was released last year.  The show was a long time coming, as the band had not made an appearance in the District since 2012.  

Opening the performance with the title track, the band played through a set that featured most of the new album, interspersed with tracks from their first record, Shallow Bed.   Although the new album is noticeably more rock-oriented than that first effort, new tracks like “Med School” fit in seamlessly beside older ones such as “History Book.”  The vocal harmonies for which the band has become known were abundant, with bassist Scott Miller and guitarist Matt Taylor frequently adding their voices to that of lead singer Peter Liddle. 

LIVE: Dry The River @ The Black Cat Backstage - 9/19/12

All photos by Haris Zlatervic (haris@chunkyglasses.com)

It's almost a disservice to England’s Dry The River that their beautifully crafted recorded music might give the listener the idea that the band follows exclusively in the folksy footsteps of its countrymen Mumford & Sons or US brethren Fleet Foxes, because live, the group quite definitively rocks. The quintet crammed their expansive and explosive sound into the Backroom at the Black Cat on Wednesday night, imbuing the small space with the same energy and volume that would easily fill the larger upstairs room. Previous performances in DC as an opener had made the band work to convert the audience into fans, but this night, the Black Cat was filled with established fans who knew every word, every guitar stroke and every rock star move.  

The appearance of Dry The River is one of split personalities made up of long haired, tank top wearing guys who exploded into hair-swirling guitar-wielding dervishes sharing the stage with flannel wearers and a close-cut cropped hair punk drummer. But as different as they looked, their harmonies were tight and gorgeous.