Woven Hand at The Oriental Theater, 11/16/12

Categories: Concert Reviews

Tom Murphy
Woven Hand last night at the Oriental Theater


Shrouded in a moderate haze of fog colored by lights, Woven Hand took the stage as a trio, sounding a bit edgier than in times past. Delay and reverb on Chuck French's bass formed whirlpools of low end around David Eugene Edwards, who was clearly being carried along at times by an unseen spirit he embraced and shook off throughout the show, while drummer Ordy Garrison play rhythms that showcased his deft ability to accent the songs with textures and atmospheric flourishes.

See also:
- David Eugene Edwards of Wovenhand on the influence of Middle Eastern music
- Album Review: Woven Hand - The Laughing Stalk
- Live Review: Woven Hand and Michael Gira at the Oriental Theater, 3/24/12
- Crime and the City Solution at the Oriental Theater, 10/18/12

Tom Murphy
Woven Hand at The Oriental Theater

Drawing largely from the band's two most recent records, The Threshing Floor and The Laughing Stalk, Woven Hand drew us all into a narrative of spiritual crisis, struggle and acceptance. The last part of that was mostly implied through the heightened emotional state the outfit created and sustained for much of the show. Between songs, Edwards vocalized syllables as if he were in a trance that sounded like some Native American language or Hebrew or Aramaic.

Songs like "A Holy Measure" took on even greater, more imposing stature than it does on record, as did "Sinking Hands." A dense and deep mood flowed through the music as the trio struck electrifying moments of catharsis. Even "His Rest," easily one of the most conventionally melodic songs in the band's recent catalog, benefited greatly from a far more robust and intuitive low end from French.

Impressively, even performing such emotionally-demanding music for over twenty years, Edwards is obviously still capable of being caught up in the moment. Throughout the set, he would step back and forth and flutter backward like James Brown, like a marionette guided by unseen forces channeling through him, be it ancestors or God. There was definitely a sense that Edwards has found that balance of taking control in moments and allowing a subconscious direction surge through him in bursts of physical gesture.

Tom Murphy
Woven Hand at The Oriental Theater

And while the songs from The Laughing Stalk seemed grittier and edgier, they're are clearly no less informed by an inner sense of a personal spiritual mission. "Glistening Black" was a harrowing but electrifying, and "In the Temple," whose tonal logic and overall structure seemed almost triumphant and celebratory, sounded like it had to have been written by a different band.

Seeing "Long Horn" performed live was reminiscent of seeing Tarmints a decade ago, or what it might have been like to see a more meditative the Gun Club -- dark and haunting. The main set ended with the towering "King O King," and Edwards seemed almost to stumble back at times with the weight of the words he conveyed during that song. After a double encore of five songs, the show concluded with a rousing version of "Whistling Girl," with Garrison playfully bouncing a hand drum off his floor tom a handful of times to send us on our way.

Location Info


Oriental Theater

4335 W. 44th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: Music

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