Friday, October 8, 2010

Serena Maneesh - Woven Hand -- DC9 - Oct 7 2010

Woven Hand - On a day where I passed on the chance to buy Bob Dylan tickets to celebrate last century's finest songwriter, I instead eagerly awaited this chance to see one of this century's best songwriters, David Eugene Edwards. I have followed his great music from 16 Horsepower to his now well-seasoned Woven Hand. He came out with his usual rhythm section and had a fourth member on keyboards, effects and backing vocals. I have preferred four-member versions of this band in the past and it certainly worked tonight. The sound was fuller with little time between songs as the segues were as mysterious and evocative as the songs themselves. Edwards played banjola and much more electric guitar than in the past. His vocals were strong and the essential rhythm section was in complete harmony with these great songs. From the opening of "Winter Shaker" through the many new songs from "The Threshingfloor", the audience was treated to a wonderful mixture of dark Americana played with a mix of droning, heavy rock, folk rock and cool almost old Germanic creativity. This is dark, evocative music that for some reason still plays better in Europe than in America. Hopefully, American will catch up because Woven Hand offers some of the finest music out there now and in this past decade. The club was quite full and the response to this 55 minute set was much stronger than I am used to seeing at Indie shows. That was refreshing both as a great night out and that there are some very savvy music lovers in town.

Serena Maneesh -From Norway comes this exciting five-headed psychedelic monster to join Woven Hand in what is correctly billed as a double-headliner night. The club thinned out a bit and I do not think that was only due to the extreme volume. Too bad for those that left early as this set was a psychedelic maelstrom of guitars, synth moves atop a pounding rhythm section. While I did not think they were quite as successful with dynamic shifts as one of my favorites, Mogwai, they made up for that with some of the most powerful heavy rock songs out there. Imagine Hawkwind songs played even heavier with more abandon. The band was sharp and never careened out of control. The 50 minute set ended with a monster of a song where the singer/guitarist gave his guitar to tourmate David Eugene Edwards to finish while he joined the crowd. They then dropped it down a bit and slowly faded away. This was a fabulous double bill with two bands that were very different, but entirely sympathetic with each other in various sonic and thematic ways. I highly recommended both of these bands live and I deem Woven Hand albums a necessity.

Quote of the Night: From Peter Hook's excellent book "The Hacienda - How Not to Run a Club"... "It turned out the beer pumps and fittings had been installed incorrectly. Because the wrong taps were used, we lost something like one pint for every four we sold. We brought in loads of highly paid advisors to identify our problem areas, but they told us nothing we didn't already know: that we were overstaffed, that we were being ripped off and that we were idiots."

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