Dry the River at Lollapalooza 2012 | Photos and music review
Bass player Scott Miller looks like Paul Rudd in the movie Our Idiot Brother, and he was very interested in demonstrating his ability to brandish his low-slung bass, often raising it up to the level where less randy musicians tend to play the instrument. Man, can he swing that bass around. And what a body! Nubile! "It's too fucking hot for British people to be out here with a shirt on," he said, then cracked his second Bud Light. Badass. But hmmm…British. Perhaps that's the most interesting thing about Dry the River: accents aside, the band plays a distinctly American blend of folk rock (emphasis on folk) and really atmospheric indie, with a splash of that European austereness that bands like Beirut (though American) love to exploit. All this is lacquered almost beyond recognition with that post-DMB woodland hippy bullshit promulgated by Fleet Foxes, Iron & Wine and My Morning Jacket before them. It's not an obvious combination, but the sum's parts are all no-brainers. It wasn't just the shade that drew a good-sized crowd to the lovely, lakeside BMI stage. Whenever I started to fall asleep, drummer Jon Warren would break out his mallets for an exquisite if non sequitur M83-style build. These quasi-epic climbs gave the band a much-needed edge, if a bit of a cheap one. Can't blame 'em, though. (Note to bands: The non sequitur euphoria build is perhaps the most crucial element of success in modern music. Your builds don't have to explode into a new part or even adhere to songwriting structure. Just convince the audience that something incredible is about to happen every few songs, and you'll be rocking the BMI stage next summer.) Frontman Peter Liddle sounds like the guy from that band Keane, and in an oversized t-shirt and purple pants, with half his stringy hair shaved, he looks like a voluntarily homeless Wicker Park twentysomething. This is really innocuous, occasionally danceable, but ultimately just listenable music. I imagine young newlyweds in a coffee shop, discussing the prospect of having children while this band's album plays quietly in the background. "What is this?" says the wife. "I don't know," says the husband. "It's nice, though."