London Calling – Dry The River Take On Amsterdam

They’ve drawn comparisons to the likes of Mumford And Sons, Fleet Foxes and Noah And The Whale and, while that’s not a bad thing (who wouldn’t want to be compared to those bands?), trust us – Dry The River are not just another mellow folk band. Don’t let the violin or the scruffy looking press shots fool you.

DTR took a trip to Amsterdam this past weekend to catch the London five-piece perform at the biannual London Calling Festival. And aside from enjoying the perfectly sunny weather, nearly getting killed by oncoming trams on the streets and indulging in the local, erm, activities of the city, we had the chance to see some of the UK’s best new music in one of the most picturesque festival settings.

Think of London Calling as the Great Escape of the Netherlands. The two-day music event, situated in the city’s world-famous Paradiso venue (a converted nineteenth century church), attracts the country’s most music-loving fans who want a taste of the new music England has to offer. And for an up-and-coming band like Dry The River, it’s refreshing to see the upstairs room of the Paradiso quickly fill up for their set.

Dry The River perform their latest single, ‘New Ceremony’, at London Calling 2011

You wouldn’t think it, but Dry The River’s members are all huge punk and prog rock fans (an influence which kind of subtlety seeps into their folkish sound), and one of them has the Fat Wreck Chords logo tattooed on his skin. And let’s be honest – they’re probably one of the strangest groupings of people in a band we’ve come across in quite some time. One of them studied medicine and anthropology at uni, one’s a formerly homeless punk musician, one’s a classically trained violinist, and one recently convinced some Parisian bouncers that he was Kings Of Leon’s Caleb Followill in order to sneak into a busy nightclub (and he’s proudly shared this story with anyone willing to listen).

Currently recording their debut full-length album, the band have been working with producer Peter Katis (The National, Interpol), flying back and forth between their shared two-bedroom house in Stratford, east London and his home-studio in Connecticut. With an anticipated release date set for later this year via Transgressive Records, a sold out show at London’s Bush Hall this Wednesday, and a slew of festival appearances (including Lounge On The Farm, Lovebox, Truck, Summer Sundae and Green Man), there’s plenty of opportunity to check them out this summer. Or maybe you’ll just run into a “Followill” at a club…