Bowerbirds and Dry the River at The Garrison

Bowerbirds @ The Garrison, 27-03-12

Date of show: March 27, 2012


Bowerbirds released their third full-length album, The Clearing, on March 6th and have since then taken the album on the road. Hailing from Raleigh, NC, the band is comprised of Phil Moore (vocals, guitar, keys), Beth Tacular (vocals, accordion, keys), Leah Gibson (cello, keys), Yan Westerlund (drums) and multi-instrumentalist Mark Paulson (violin, bass, guitar). Together, the 5-piece creates piano-driven folk music that is lifted by the voices of Moore and Tacular, a musical as well as romantic pair, which Moore admitted he doesn’t normally mention on stage.

While Bowerbirds didn’t quite sell out The Garrison, the venue was quite packed for a Tuesday night. The band played a handful of songs from the new record, including the set closer “Tuck the Darkness,” which was played before the crowd called for an encore. But old fans of the band were also treated to old favourites, such as “Chimes” and “Northern Lights” from Upper Air, and the encore began with songs from Hymns for a Dark Horse. Fans sang along loyally and the band put on a solid performance, but it seemed lost in the space of the The Garrison. Perhaps I’ll just need to see them again, preferably in a venue more suitable to the band’s warm folk.

Bowerbirds @ The Garrison, 27-03-12 Bowerbirds @ The Garrison, 27-03-12 Bowerbirds @ The Garrison, 27-03-12 Bowerbirds @ The Garrison, 27-03-12 Bowerbirds @ The Garrison, 27-03-12
Bowerbirds @ The Garrison, 27-03-12 Bowerbirds @ The Garrison, 27-03-12 Bowerbirds @ The Garrison, 27-03-12 Bowerbirds @ The Garrison, 27-03-12 Bowerbirds @ The Garrison, 27-03-12


Dry the River

UK band Dry the River opened up the night, but they, in my opinion, completely stole the show. It’s hard not to be enamoured with these folk rockers that emphasize the rock and completely let loose on stage. Bassist Scott Miller was particularly loose-lipped on stage, as he even asked for the band to be ready as they tuned their guitars so he would stop with the stage banter. Miller added humour and lighthearted feel to the set, while the band cranked the energy levels as they played.

Frontman Peter Liddle’s vocals convey such passion, which combine with vocals from guitarist Matt Taylor and Miller to create soaring 3-part harmonies. Will Harvey adds texture to the songs with his work on violin, while Jon Warren rounds out the rhythm section. The band played songs from their Weights and Measures EP, but it was a treat to hear new songs from the new album. The songs from the EP, as well as “No Rest” and “The Chambers & The Valves,” which have videos out, were familiar to the crowd and got cheers and sing-a-longs. “New Ceremony” was a particular highlight, such a dynamic song brimming with energy.

Dry the River’s Shallow Bed has already been released in the UK but will be released in North America on April 17th. This was the band’s first time in Toronto and you can count on them playing a bigger venue when they return to the city. They will be back, armed with a release and more fans singing along. I can assure you of that.

Dry the River @ The Garrison, 27-03-12 Dry the River @ The Garrison, 27-03-12 Dry the River @ The Garrison, 27-03-12 Dry the River @ The Garrison, 27-03-12 Dry the River @ The Garrison, 27-03-12
Dry the River @ The Garrison, 27-03-12 Dry the River @ The Garrison, 27-03-12 Dry the River @ The Garrison, 27-03-12 Dry the River @ The Garrison, 27-03-12 Dry the River @ The Garrison, 27-03-12

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Categories: Live Music

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