Dry The River – Reading Festival 2012 review


A moody opening entices swathes of dedicated music fans away from the flash sunshine on the fields and into the NME/Radio 1 tent to the seeping atmosphere created by the collaboration of acoustic soft rock musicians. Dry The River slickly pump the sweetly melancholic opening of ‘New Ceremony’ around the outskirts of the tent, sweeping back to stage and drawing increasing numbers of people in with it.

The six piece on the face of it are a traditional rock outfit with combined images that keep them contemporary. Whilst the set is gentle and folk based, the notorious edge of their East London background lends explanation to the attention demanding heavy bass and intercepting mini crescendos which add pace and clench the interest of their audience.

Partially driven by rock violinist Will Harvey, the dramatic ballads are played with devotion that draws personality from each track. The band are crowd-friendly and front man Peter Liddle humbly expresses his pleasure at performing on their biggest stage yet, followed by a plea to not throw bottles of urine. Having showcased at Isle of Wight earlier this year they are consistent in their authoritative hold on stage, maintaining charisma and support between one another as they play inward towards the band regularly.

Whilst each track has a worldly accent, ‘Weights and Measures’ captures the imagination with a side-ball of choir-like symphony and is soon followed by soothing, melodic ‘Demons’ in sustained symphony as the bass guitar and drum hold the fort with increasing tempo as interplaying vocals rise and disappear into instrumental oblivion.

Embracing the attention bass guitarist Scott Miller shows off his customised t-shirt complete with twitter tag and promises to hand it over later in the set. Re-assuming formation the band enter prog rock track ‘No Rest’ which is tailed with a dramatic finale whilst Liddle poises and Miller plunges into bass lead, soon accompanied by the collective, lifting the set to new dizzy heights.

‘The Chambers and The Valvles’ opens with a false sense of lullaby security, compressing in warning faster and faster, simultaneously maintaining grounding interludes that transport the imagination to night time deserts… the rolling thunder that erupts with endless re-ignitions triggers scenes of war stories in far away lands, wars that are not over yet or like Dry The River, have perhaps only just begun.

Click here for our full Reading and Leeds coverage.

We want your Reading and Leeds reviews!

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and reply to our review posts with your thoughts, insights, opinions and full-on reviews.

Send tweets to us with your reviews or comment on our Facebook page, or in the comments section below with your thoughts.

This isn’t about getting nasty if you don’t agree with our journalists, but an opportunity to leave your own appraisals, with the best ones getting published on the site.

So, what are you waiting for? Let us know your thoughts!