Review: Dry the River at the Wedgewood Rooms in Southsea

Pupils stun crowds at capital fundraiser

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When Dry the River first came to the public’s attention, they were, perhaps erroneously, lumped in with the burgeoning nu-folk scene.

This was mostly down to the fact that they had violinist Will Harvey in their ranks. But he left at the start of recording for album number two, as the new material went in a different, more direct rock direction.

This was the first night of the tour and if there were any jitter, the band kept them hidden. Indeed, they started by playing the new album’s first two songs – Alarms in the Heart’s title track and Hidden Hand.

Frontman Pete Liddle graciously thanked the near-capacity crowd for putting up with all the new material.

But it was on songs from their debut album Shallow Bed, such as New Ceremony and History Book, that the crowd really showed its support.

In Harvey’s place, they are joined on stage by a keyboard player, but his contributions were often inaudible under the soaraway guitars.

At this early stage in the campaign, the new material lacks the immediacy of the Shallow Bed-era songs, but they are still a powerful live unit – Liddle’s voice is soaring thing of beauty while their three-piece harmonies match The Fleet Foxes and the rhythm section go above and beyond.