Date of show: September 25, 2012
Written by: Chiara DiAngelo
Just their second time playing in Toronto, it was UK band Dry the River’s first headlining gig here. The band is made up of Peter Liddle (vocals, guitar), Matt Taylor (guitar, vocals) Scott Miller (bass), Will Harvey (violin, keys), and Jon Warren (drums).
First song “Shield Your Eyes” was met with some pretty intense feedback issues, forcing the band to cut the song short and re-start. It was an unfortunate way to begin, but once they got going, it was soon wiped clean from our memory. An acoustic intro on “Weights and Measures” brought a hush to the crowd, as just their voices echoed out “I was prepared to love you, and never expect anything of you” before the instruments came in. Other highlights of their set included “New Ceremony,” “No Rest” and “Bible Belt.”
Filled with epic extended outros and instrumental breaks, the band’s hardcore influences radiated, with all band members fully absorbed in their instruments and the music flowing freely out of them. It made for quite the incredible combination when seamlessly melded with their choir-like three-part harmonies and folk melodies. It could very easily be likened to a religious experience, seeing Dry The River live. The barefoot Liddle was deemed by Miller “a true rock god, you wouldn’t think to look at him.” I couldn’t say it better myself – Liddle has a completely unassuming look to him, you would not expect the choirboy vocals, nor the punk-rock edge possessed within him.
For their encore, the band left the stage and stood amongst the crowd, a circle quickly forming around them. Performing “Shaker Hymns” unplugged, there was a moment when the entire venue was perfectly silent. A rare feat, this just added to the mystical magic that surrounds this band.
Their album Shallow Bed was released in Canada back in April and The Garrison was packed with people so excited to see this band. Catherine had spoken so highly of them when she saw them and chatted with them earlier this year, I feel like I’ve been let in on the best secret having now seen them. We recommend you check them out sooner rather than later – they’ll be making a leap to a much larger stage than the Garrison next time they come through, you can bet on that.
We weren’t sure what to expect from a band with the name “Houndmouth” but neither of us were particularly expecting a four-piece folk-rock band, four-part vocals, and classic feel very much reminiscent of The Band. But that’s exactly what we got. From New Albany, Indiana, the band is comprised of Matt Myers (vocals, guitar), Katie Toupin (keys, vocals), Zak Appleby (bass, vocals) and Shane Cody (drums, vocals). Despite their southern drawls, decked out in flannel, denim on denim, and sporting some impressive beards, they could easily fit right in with the Canadian indie scene.
With great energy from all members, it was obvious they were having a great time on stage. Mentioning that lead singer Myers was coming down with a cold, the rest of the band were taking over singing duties more than usual. That was just fine with us. “Houston Train” featured Toupin taking on lead vocals, and the deep back-up vocals often provided by drummer Cody were a great addition to their sound. Stating that they were “gonna keep playing them fast till we see some feet moving,” highlights of their set included “Penitentiary” and “Krampus” from their self-titled EP.
It takes a lot to win over and impress a crowd when you are the opener to a hotly anticipated band – but Houndmouth did just that. Becoming ever more enamoured with them as their set went on, there was a moment following their soulful and rousing cover of The Band’s “Look Out Cleveland” when we turned to one another and just said “Wow.”
Their EP was released on Rough Trade and they mentioned that they are currently tracking a full-length. Catch them on the road as they continue on tour with Dry the River in the US – and be sure to buy them a shot! We owe them one next time they’re in town!