June 1, 2015

The River and the Road play the Biltmore

The River and the Road at the Biltmore with Battle Stereo
Written by Rea Raven

“What’s up? The River and the Road.. they are next, that’s what’s up!” indicates Kyle Tubbs, singer of Battle Stereo, the opening band that enthusiastically set the stage this evening with a catchy instrumental number.

The Biltmore is a decently sized venue with a lot of character,and an assortment of decorations that look like they were potentially props from a horror film, complete with the head of at least one dead deer. Dear deer friends, I regret that this is your fate, however, in a twisted way, at least you get to be surrounded by music and people generally trying to enjoy themselves, dance, and make new friends while watching pretty awesome bands perform. You could tell that everyone who was present was there to see The River and the Road. The longer into the set they  got, the more the audience gathered in and grew tighter.

Their melodies were inviting and had a real rock-folk-blues feeling, with a serious yet beautiful tone. The banjo of course brought a new element and overall the back up vocals added a nice touch. In between each song there was a sincere level of gratitude extended to the audience after their year hiatus since last performing in Vancouver. They encouraged slow dancing, though sorry boys, I didn’t see anyone dancing during this song, though in your first song, indeed there was one couple near by me who started dancing and shared a passionate embrace.

More than once, a lovely experience occurred where there were no vocals sung and no instruments played mid song,, yet the crowd was able to hold up true to form with the band bringing it right back in together again. For this reason I sense the band have a decent following – also evidenced by concert goers arriving in band tees.

There was a nice flow to the choruses and a very inclusive feel. Often they invited friends and members of other bands in the audience to join them on stage with their respective instruments. They like keep things interesting and to encourage creative collaboration with their musician friends. This brought the occasional light and elegant touch of a violin or an organ into the concert mix.

We are reminded that they drove all the way to Vancouver from Montreal, and didn’t seem to impressed with the drive! They may have been even less impressed by how hot it was up on stage, however that only led to the removal of clothing, shirts only on this occasion. First just one member and by the encore, two shirts off. So maybe they were impressed after all! With that loud and cohesive ending bringing lots of cheers and a request for an encore, I’d say that everyone present this evening had a pretty good night. As the band reminded us at the end: see you on the other side as we disappear in to the night to make some incredible mistakes.

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written by Rea Raven



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