Wovenhand

support Christine Owman
author MH date 14/08/13 venue Train, Århus, DEN

As a fan of the now split up band 16 Horsepower, I felt obligated also to check the singer David Eugene Edwards's other band out, the alternative folk band Wovenhand. Though the resemblances that can be made between these two bands are relatively few, Wovenhand for some reason also capture my otherwise metal loving heart. So here I am on a Wednesday night at Train in Århus, ready for a night with alternative music and a variety of different impressions.

Christine Owman

Christine Owman

A warm up act for Wovenhand is almost bound to be a bit odd. Though, odd doesn't quite cut it when it comes to the Swedish artist Christine Owman. This is experimental folk of some sort, she plays the cello and sings herself, and she has two other musicians with her to fill the bass and guitar slots. The guitarist also provides backing vocals, and her voice fits harmonically with Owman's. The drums however are running through a Mac laptop right next to her on stage, which for some might be a nuisance. The stage setup is quite minimalistic but yet artistic, with the bass player and guitarist stationed on each side of Owman sitting in the middle with her cello. The wall behind them is running silent films in an old school and grainy style.

Christine Owman

The show evolves around a strong atmosphere, both beauty and gloom linger between the music and the performance. Owman's appereance is very sensual with her slow movements and empathic performance when she sings. Between sung passages she stands up and... headbangs? Yes, headbangs. This is weird to look at, but it adds a bit of diversity and additional strangeness to the act. If you, however, prefer to close your eyes and just let the music sink in, then it is bound to get under your skin and seduce your mind. At her microphone stand you see two microphones; one ordinary, and one for special effects. When she uses this second microphone, her voice transforms into a captivating chant to accompany the deep humming from her cello beautifully. I've had a lot of trouble deciding what to grade this show because it felt more like observing a piece of art, rather than going to an actual concert. But there is no doubt in my mind that if given the opportunity, I'd gladly go re-enact this gloomy and captivating experience.

Woven Hand

Wovenhand

Now, time for the hardest review I've probably ever written, or even will come to write. Wovenhand enters stage exactly as they leave it one and a half hours later. David Eugene Edwards is posted on the left side of the stage with his guitar, and the bass player on the right, slightly drawn backwards out of the spotlight. And nothing really changes in that setup throughout the show, except when Edwards occasionally moves towards the middle of the stage in his little sideways leg dance, for the lack of a better expression. It quickly becomes clear that this show is not based on putting on a show nor to get the audience's attention by attempting direct contact with them. Actually, the only words directed towards us are "thank you very much", which is said around 3 times, causing almost every song to blend into one another. This sort of thing is hard to comprehend for me, and I had no idea how to feel about it at first. But the conclusion is pretty clear now, this concert was extremely introverted, always evolving around the music and the ambience acompanying it, much rather than the venue and its attendants. This can bring up much discussion whether it is a good or a bad thing. But I choose to cherish it and enjoy the music.

Wovenhand

This goes easily hand in hand with the fact that the artistic feel and ambience is very present, and there is no doubt about the empathy put into performing the music. As mentioned before the songs kind of blur together, but a lot of them are combined with Indian-inspired chants and ritualistic hand gestures by Mr. Edwards, who at times makes restless and slightly distressed movements as well. Is this a part of the feeling put into his songs? I believe it is. The lyrics have a strong Christian message, but whether this affects a great deal of the audience is unclear.

As the show gets closer to an end it is time for a crowd pleaser. "Whistling Girl" leaves Mr. Edwards alone on stage with his guitar replaced by a banjo. This is performed beautifully before the band rejoins on stage and performs a few other songs. Before wrapping up this review, I need to emphazise the utmost artistic nature of this band which shines through this concert. Even though the grade I am giving can be discussed due to the lack of interaction with the audience, as well as some technical difficulties with the sound, I stand by a confident

8

All photos by: Marika Hyldmar

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