Dry The River - XOYO, London

It seems we were in good company when we nominated London folk rockers Dry The River as one of our tips for 2012; among the nods was a BBC Sound Of 2012 nomination and a place on the Q Now Sessions tour, which is how we found ourselves in the sold-out XOYO crowd last night to revel in our good taste. And revel we did. With the hour-long set displaying the majority of their debut album Shallow Bed – we’ve had an early listen and it’s a cracker – we were treated to gorgeous harmonies, toe-tapping melodies and balls-out (not literally) rocking throughout.

After kicking off with the subtle slow-burner ‘Demons’, the tone was set for the evening by the sensational ‘No Rest’, with Peter Liddle’s impassioned vocals fragile and powerfully strong in equal measure leading to a barnstorming climax – a formula that Dry The River are fond of, but it’s to their credit that it never becomes tired. Helped by the fact that they sound ridiculously tight and bolstered by a crisp sound set up with savvy stereo effects, we couldn’t help getting lulled in time after time before the soaring big finish, none more so than on the likes of ‘Shield Your Eyes’ and ‘New Ceremony’.

But despite all this, it almost seemed like tonight’s set would be thoroughly lovely yet missing an extra sparkle of live magic to make it fully memorable. How wrong we were. Leading into ‘Weights & Measures’, the band turned off their equipment and proceeded to deliver a sublimely gorgeous and flawless acapella intro to a captivated crowd, ruined only a touch by the presence of a running tap behind one of the bars. We’d have happily forgone the obligatory soaring final bridge to hear the whole track like it, but alas the mics and amps were swiftly back on, all the way through to the triumphant rock-out finale of ‘Lion’s Den’ that wrapped tonight’s show up in a suitably epic manner.

With a small-to-medium size venue UK tour in April – visiting the likes of London’s Electric Ballroom and Manchester’s Academy 3 – coming up, you’d be well advised to grab a ticket while you can. It’ll only get bigger from here.

Set List


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