SXSW showcase reviews

Live Shots
Photo by Aubrey Edwards


Spiros, March 20

"Weave together anger and grief, bow down, bow down, and sing," growled David Eugene Edwards during a rare South by Southwest Music Fest encore of his former band 16 Horsepower's "Horse Head Fiddle," his blues moan scouring atop droning guitar. Few phrases better capture the preceding 40 minutes of Wovenhand's set, Edwards unleashing the ferocity of a Pentecostal firebrand. With only bass and drums backing his scorched, raw guitar, the band powered through opener "Kicking Bird" and a rumbling "Beautiful Ax" from latest Ten Stones, though live, the songs were rent with an intensity matched by the seated Edwards' relentlessly twitching right leg, convulsing in the air as his left shuffled the beat against the floor. The jackknife rhythm of "Tin Finger" serrated into a wail of distortion, while "Your Russia (Dance Without Hands)" was bone-rattling, Wovenhand unraveling a deep Southern Gothic through spoken verses and dark-holler tales that summoned prog proportions in their mythic scale and conceits. The drama of Edwards' delivery at times overwhelmed the songs, but the Colorado dweller seemed possessed beyond his sweat-drenched frame, quivering and intently staring down the front-row fans with wild-eyed abandon. Edwards captivates a room, like a fire and brimstone revival that unleashes a rapturous spirit coursing through the waves of dark sound, terrifying and redeeming like a summoned apocalypse.

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