The late 70s in the UK were a time of musical turbulence, as the young bands of the era rebelled against the excesses of the prog rock, disco, and other forms that had come to exemplify the decade. The result was a very distinctive version of punk, which while it shared much in common with its American counterparts such as The Ramones and The Stooges, had a sound that was very much its own. At the same time, labels like 2 Tone were fronting a new second wave of ska and rocksteady, which fused these sounds with punk. While many bands of the period have long since disappeared, recent years have seen a renewed interest in this music which has resulted in a number of reunions. Last Saturday, four of the best of these reunited bands – ska legends The Beat and The Selecter, and punk legends Buzzcocks and Stiff Little Fingers – came together for a co-headlining show at The Forum Hertfordsire in Hatfield, England, just north of London. The show – which was originally scheduled to happen outdoors, but got moved inside due to the threat of thunderstorms – was utterly packed with fans, many of whom had been there the first time around.
Hailing from Leeds, England, Eagulls have been making quite the stir as of late. Between the critical/fan reaction to their debut album and their antics penning open letters to the bands at SXSW about “Disney character-looking "frontmen” there’s been a lot to talk about. Before their debut performance in Washington, DC, the guys sat down with us to chat about the new album, the tour so far, future plans for the Eagull’s dynasty, and, of course, meeting Bill Murray.
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.