Dry The River - Live At Manchester Academy 3

“I think people are surprised when they come to see us live"
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“I think people are surprised when they come to see us live. They expect us to be really calm and quiet but in some ways we’re the opposite”. These are the scarily accurate words of Dry The River’s heavily tattooed front man, Peter Liddle. If you stumbled drunkenly upon this band in a night club – with long locks and their bodies ladened with tattoos your instinct would tell you, protect your ears and go elsewhere as this is going to be deafening. Even so, the previous comment would only apply to those who have been hiding under a rock for the past seven months and are vastly unaware of the headway this band have achieved, i.e – selling out Camden Electric Ballroom 3 months in advance and the same is said for London Scala…so no biggie then? Tonight sees Dry The River bring their falsetto inspired folklore to a sold out Manchester Academy brimming with anticipation.

With a modest entrance that subjected the crowd to an entire three minutes of Michel Jackson’s Will You Be There (which, surprisingly, was quite enjoyable), Dry The River finally bounced onstage with the up-most vigour and enthusiasm – and received a raucous reception from a pumped up crowd. Commencing with the ever popular No Rest, the nerves seemed to be kept at bay, at least for now, enabling the impressive falsetto they have become branded with to work its magic on the crowd. An audience thoroughly satisfied with a note perfect performance to start the evening, Peter began to tease and probe for a better reaction “We’re called Dry The River, it’s good to be back in Manchester. This is one of our favourite places to play”. To which countless men and women exclaimed their love for the folky five piece.

Shield Your Eyes takes the show to another dimension aided by intense lighting creating silhouette-like figures, whilst your ears are being treated to breathtaking harmonies coupled with bizarre lyrical content ‘Frigione line with excellent eye sight’ – Peter later jokes that even he doesn’t know what the lyrics mean, but it’s nice that people are taking an interest! The mention of Rio Ferdinand being here tonight in one of Peters interjections obviously throws the crowd into complete turmoil and ‘Rio, Rio’ can be heard reverberating around the walls – enough to make anyone leave I would think.

What impressed me most about Dry The River was not the impeccable falsetto, harmonies or the breathtakingly talented but underrated violinist in the background – nope, none of those. It was the fact the whole performance was seamless and the band were able to relax with each other and the crowd, this allowed all of the above to flow so effortlessly and none other than in 'Weights and Measures'.

This song was like no other song I have heard live in my life. Spine tingling, emotive, earth shattering. I could go on but none of those words would capture the moment that eerie and echoing falsetto vocal filled the room as the band took a stand away from their mic’s and a pin drop could be heard as the crowd fell deafly silent. A simply stunning piece of lyrical work and one that will stay with me for a very long time. If you have the opportunity to experience this bands exceptional talents live grab it with both hands, you will not be disappointed. An accomplished and professional performance from a band who I’m sure have a lot more talent to share.

Words by Ben Gilligan

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