Dry the River at Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

Dry the River
Dry the River
The Darkness. Picture by

Simon Emmett

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Note to opening act, Drawings: Trying to instigate a clap-along on your opening song will probably fail. However, bringing on half the headline act to guest on your closing song will fare much better.

Dry the River have been lumped in with the ongoing folk revival but, on the evidence of tonight’s performance, they’re simply a very good rock band who happen to have a fiddle player.

They’ve mastered the art of the slow-burning song – recent single New Ceremony is despatched early, building from gentle acoustic beginnings to its full-on climax. And No Rest begins with frontman Peter Liddle singing the opening away from his mike, and most of the crowd singing back at him, before the band kick-in.

But it’s ferocious main set closer Lion’s Den that belies the band’s punk roots and the band leave the stage to squalling walls of feedback.

However, when they come back, they step into the crowd and play encore Shaker Hymns a capella from the middle of the floor.

It’s a ballsy move, and one that a fair part of the sold-out crowd struggle to see. But for those close enough, it’s a definite ‘I was there’ moment.