These Wicked Rivers Album 2 Crowdfunder Gig – The Hairy Dog, Derby – Friday 14th October ‘22
Supports, 28 Double and Gorilla Riot
Not a particularly local one for me, but not too far either and it was my birthday, so why not?
After seeing These Wicked Rivers earlier this year at Just Push Play and Stonedead Festival, and having worked both events giving me the opportunity to meet and befriend the guys – it made somewhat sense to head along for a night out, give them a bit of support and another chance to meet up with like-minded friends.
The crowdfunding show also had the added bonus of Gorilla Riot as support, another band I had caught in the summer of 2021 and thought were, “ones to watch, them”.
I did unfortunately miss the first support, 28 Double, but from overheard accounts, they were a pretty good warm-up for what was indeed a very warm gig at The Hairy Dog in Derby – one of the city’s only remaining decent rock bars. Could definitely do with a bit of ventilation or air con in the live gig space but nonetheless, pretty good venue and likely won’t be my last visit there. Especially as they serve Lilly’s cider in a variety of flavours…
Anyway – back to the music. Gorilla Riot. I mean, the good thing about these fan-focused gigs is that, you’re not gonna pick a support that aren’t gonna deliver. It was an attractive package deal all round and a dead cert we were in for a good night from the off.
The crowd were pumped. Cheering, clapping – totally engaged. The room was packed and Gorilla Riot sounded tight. The perfect starter to our main course. Their grimy, yet syrupy, blues infused rock n roll is an effortless combination. Elements of country and grunge both creep in but are well blended and topped with honey laced vocals from frontman Arjun, surrounded by equally warm harmonies from Liam and Charly T on guitars. A sound rhythm section from Deggy (bass) and Will (drums) complete a flawless sound and give you those ‘feel it in your chest’ vibes. If you’ve ever met Deggy, you’ll already know he’s one of the kindest blokes on the UK music scene so it’s no surprise that when I caught up with them after the show, they were all just as lovely in equal measure. A bloody delight to chat to; fun on and off stage. They’ve a few EPs released, including my recommendation of American Honey Vol 1, and their most recent, Solace – plus their 2020 album ‘PEACH’. Gold stars from me all round.
After a break for some air and a swift cider or two more, it was time for another power-blues fuelled journey through rock n roll with These Wicked Rivers, complete with a view from the inside of your old relative’s front-room; the stage decorated with vintage lampshades and extravagant scarves which adds a warm homely feeling, especially when the guys step out suited and booted.
Given the nature of the evening’s purpose – to crowd fund for their next album – this was going to be a good night in their home town. The venue was packed to the rafters with a family of TWR fans, most of which are likely to already be seeing them on the current run of dates supporting Hayseed Dixie. I can imagine from their POV, they were a humbled bunch. They didn’t fall short of enthusiasm and effort though. They put on a show of grandeur. They filled every pocket of that room with bearded energy from start to finish. With John leading the pack and Arran to his right the room quickly fell under their spell – backed by Dan, Rich and Dale in spectacularly tight fashion.
As the crowd dutifully joined in on backing vocals, John, a charismatic frontman by a long measure, was clearly complimented and his humble nature shone through at the closing of any song with the friendliest ‘thank you’ I think I’ve ever heard. You can’t help but smile when you listen to him. A highlight of their set, and I’m sure many would agree, came in the form of the powerful ‘Pray For Me’. The sound of the keys echoing across the room, the voices of the crowd singing loud and proudly – the delicate and beautiful guitars peppered throughout the verses, that crescendo into the choruses – pushing the power up, enough to punch you in the feels. It was what most would call a bloody beautiful moment and will most certainly be remembered as some fought back a tear or two. As they reached the end of the set, it was clear the crowd wanted more. To chants of “one more song” they happily re-joined the stage for a fantastic rendition of ‘Rockin’ in the Free World’ to close the evening, a great choice of cover that suited John’s warm tones down to the ground.
I’m looking forward to seeing what their second album has in store. If you don’t have a copy of Eden, give it a listen along with their most recent new singles, Lonely Road and Testify. And if you want a damn good bearded hug and blues rock n roll with a groove is your thing, get along to a gig and say hello – they’re damn fine chaps!