Wovenhand – Bush Hall, Shepherds Bush, London
Monday 16th June 2014
Photos and words by Antony Roberts
This was my first visit to Bush Hall in Shepherds Bush, and after travel delays and late arrival, I ventured into the rather expansive space of the main Hall to find Wovenhand were already about to take the stage. Built in 1904 and originally used as a dance hall it’s a suitably impressive venue, full of chandeliers, decorative wall and ceiling coverings, mirrors, and a giant red curtain covering the back of the stage that looks like it was stolen straight out of the Twin Peaks set.
Considering how many people I spoke to beforehand who were unaware the gig was happening and had not seen it advertised, the hall was pretty heaving with bodies packed in right from the stage front to the large double doors at the back of the venue. With a large packed crowd and no photo pit I could only grab a few shots quickly down the front and instead had more time to enjoy the music which is never a bad thing at a Wovenhand show. It was a very mixed crowd highlighting the range of appeal of the band with shirts ranging from Teitanblood and Deadguy, to Eels and PJ Harvey, and i don’t think i’ve ever seen so many hats before. Did Vice post up something saying they’re hot this summer or something? Fedoras, baseball, panama, flat caps, trucker hats and even top hats – I must have missed that memo.
The band walk on to large applause and even before they get going all eye’s fall on David Eugene Edwards as he tuned up. Some front men have just got it – you all know the type – like Nemtheanga of Primordial, they just captivate and David Eugene Edwards has it in spades.
The last time i caught them was at Roadburn 2011 and it was a far more solemn and acoustic affair than last night. The Bush Hall show drew heavily from their latest and seventh studio album, 2014’s “Refractory Obdurate” (Deathwish – World/Glitterhouse – Europe), in fact “King David” being the only track from the latest album not played. Kicking off with the sublime “Hiss” David Eugene Edwards exuded confidence, his eyes deep with emotion half hidden under the shadow off his brimmed hat. Now complete with a handlebar moustache I couldn’t help but think of Danny “Machete” Trejo at times. Between strumming he hung his arms in the air pulling at invisible strings whilst chanting and raising his palms to the air, eyes closed lost in the moment. He wasn’t the only one, around the expanse of the hall a large majority were rocking out, eyes closed, enchanted by the performance from the stage. The upbeat elements of the newer albums led to a much heavier riff based show than previously witnessed, but no less emotional, and during “King O King” from 2012’s “The Laughing Stalk” the whole band were swinging guitars, hair and hips whilst the audience sung along.
An hour goes very quickly when watching a Wovenhand show but they keep things short between songs to give the audience as much music as possible. “Good Shepherd” has the whole venue bouncing around, nodding heads and i’m sure spilling a few pints, and the main set comes to a close. After a very brief break off stage the band return to the stage and into “Glistening Black” bringing a somewhat more chilled vibe readying the audience for the chaos and stomping but short set closer “Kicking Bird” from 2008 album “Ten Stones”. This was my first visit to Bush Hall, the atmosphere, acoustics, and band were perfect. I hope it’s not the last time I visit the venue, and most certainly hope it’s not the last time I get to see another intense, emotional and amazing Wovenhand live performance.
Find Wovenhand’s website here.
Wovenhand facebook page here.
Bush Hall website here.