Just few days before heavy blizzard hit Stockholm in the first week of this festive month, I was beyond thankful to have the opportunity to see our most hailed band of the year, Dry The River. This time around, I knew that I would experience heart-wrenching music and lyrics. I just didn’t know for sure how far it would stir my feelings and how deep it would affect me emotionally. Exaggerated much? Maybe. You’ll see.
Even before the show started, the band had already made me nervous because they might have not made it to get across to Sweden from Denmark, since apparently the Øresund bridge was closed. While I was still keeping my fingers crossed, it was announced that the gig was still on although the show time had to be pushed back to 21.30. I did not realize how big the trouble on the road was until I saw the lads arrived with their van and loaded out their gears literally just a little bit more than half an hour before the show had to start. This means that they had only that much amount of time to set everything up which really impressed me. They did soundcheck simultaneously as gig-goers kept coming and filled up the room. I was fidgety, yes, but I was also mostly excited.
And then it was show time. My heart beat unusually faster as the lads came on stage showing no sign of tiredness whatsoever. They smiled genuinely, waved a little and straight away began opening a set of wonderful songs from their debut quality album Shallow Bed by playing the track Shield Your Eyes. When all of a sudden the intro melodies of New Ceremony followed already as the second song, I was ready to shed a tear or two because it was the first song which made me head over heels over the band, if not for the incredibly sad lyrics. For a moment, I let myself drown in it until I saw for real how Pete, Scott, Jon, Matt and Will put out so much energy and passion in Demons. I was mostly taken aback by how they performed meticulously the contrast within the song between the slow and the hard part which is just one of many strengths in their beautiful pieces of music. The vocal harmonies in Weight & Measures when they sang without microphones were just stunning.
The freezing cold night felt a lot warmer, not only because of the impromptu entertaining small talks that mainly Scott and Pete did to engage with the crowd, but also because of moments like when the crowd sang in unison to No Rest‘s line “I love you in the best way possible”. The show reached its climax with Lion’s Den powerful and glorious ending when all played like there was no tomorrow. Even just watching it, I felt exhausted as if something sucked all my energy, which by the way doesn’t mean a bad thing. When I thought I couldn’t be more impressed, the guys except Jon, came back walking straight down to the middle of the audience and gave an endearing performance of Shaker Hymns. Words didn’t seem enough to describe how beautiful that was. People were simply left mesmerized.
In the end, I did not really cry as I thought I would, but I will always remember this gig which proves that Dry The River is beyond great. Now, let me get back to listening the wonderful acoustic version of Shallow Bed. You should do it too. NOW.