Black River Wild @ Dusk Till Dawn Review
A few weeks prior I’d caught Black River Wild on the same line-up as Mackley Drive at the Nambucca. Impressive they were and it was a nice surprise to see some blues being played on a predominantly rock/prog line-up (albeit a very good one). They describe themselves as “swampy urban folk-blues” and I’d have to agree. The music has a musky, ‘last drop from the bottom of the whisky bottle’ sound. I’m not even sure what that means, yet it sounds so right. The band are made up of Blake Robson on vocals & guitar, Kester Hynds on cello, piano & backing vocals and Jamie Shaw on drums & percussion.
My expectations before the gig? Neutral. Again this was a line-up put together by Symptomatic Presents, which gave me confidence that all the bands would be of a certain calibre. This time I managed to check out the rest of the line-up, which was the The Kilcawley Family, The Barker Band and The Bara Bara Band. All of whom edged closer to folk and alt/country than the blues but all spiked my interest. Especially The Bara Bara Band with the catchy Half Lit Light.
This was a weekend gig (a Sunday), so I gave a glimpse of my little musical world to a couple of friends. Nosh was over at their place along with some late night/early morning greasy chicken as a refill. Transport lines looked all clear on the TFL website, so game on(!) Unfortunately the reality was multiple delays and parts of the Hammersmith line shut. By the time we’d reached the venue, The Kilcawley Family and The Barker Band had already been on. We got there with five minutes to spare before Black River Wild.
Dusk Till Dawn is located right outside the Archway tube, so in other words conveniently located. You really can’t miss it. The downstairs area is made up of the bar and a tiny stage (& mixing desk).
Black River Wild kicked off and played through the same catchy setlist they played at Nambucca (River Wild, Don’t Run at Night, Let it Go etc). A good number of their songs are upbeat, catchy and in turn very danceable. Be prepared, as some of the songs embed themselves in your brain and don’t let go. Hence why I ripped the SoundCloud songs and did my usual trick of listening to the same songs for a sustained period (though whenever I search for them in Spotify, I end up listening to the Yetties at some point). The band also have an easy stage persona that allows them to freely chat with the audience both during and after the performance. I do know they’ve written a few more songs so I’ll be excited to hear how those come out.
I’d sum up The Bara Bara Band as ‘nice and quaint’. Most of their performance left me a little distracted but every so often they’d kick into a song that had a neat little hook or melody. The band seemed to be enjoying themselves and were very relaxed (maybe a little too relaxed), which gave the impression that the gig was more a practice session than a ‘performance’. The vocals were ok and were broken up with laughs between the lead and backing singer emphasising the relaxed nature. Still an enjoyable performance, but I felt this wasn’t really them fully focused.
On the way back from a short but enjoyable night we helped out a lost tourist, ate way too much chicken and then proceeded to feed the wandering neighbourhood cat with the scraps.
Another solid and fun performance by Black River Wild. Annoyingly their next few gigs I can’t make due to Big Boy Bloater and Pulled Apart By Horses. So one of you lot need to fill the void of my scary persona for those. In terms of the other act we saw, The Bara Bara Band were good but didn’t really float our boats (if that makes sense). We didn’t see anything of The Kilcawley Family and The Barker Band so I can’t comment, other than ‘up yours National Rail and TFL’. As a side note I’ve been impressed with the overall quality of the acts Symptomatic Presents have put on show. It’s worth following them on Twitter for the bands they’re putting together.
- Black River Wild
- The Bara Bara Band
- The Kilcawley Family
- The Barker Band