Concert Review by Jamie Homer
The Borderline, London – May 2005
Tonight the 100+ strong at the Borderline in London were truly honoured to receive ex 16 Horsepower front man David Eugene Edwards as he travelled through with his band Woven Hand. To say that I had been waiting a long time for this gig is quite simply the greatest understatement even vocalised. I have/had been (as they are now broken up) a huge fan of Denver Colorado’s 16 Horsepower since the SACKCLOTH ‘N’ ASHES days of the mid 1990’s. So it is with incredible bias that I undertake to write this review. That being said, the massive pressure and sense of pre-conceived expectations that I have placed on this gig could very well work negatively towards my overall experience. Quite simply put, I don’t ever recall being this excited for any gig that I have ever seen and I wonder if I ever will again?
Woven Hand is clearly Edward’s musical vision and the outlet for his own very unique and truly distinctive style. The music encompasses those elements of 16 Horsepower that that were clearly and obviously Edward’s direct contribution and influence. It’s a kind of hilly-billy mountain music; something you might stumble into as you trek through the Appalachian mountains in some tucked away remote redneck village. Yet it is unique and crisp sounding, akin to the music that might be in your car stereo as you drove through the backwater roads of Middle America with mist and eerie-ness rumbling through the whole scene. Very simply put: it’s eerie and scary.
David opens the show with various Woven Hand tunes that span the four CD history of the band. He jumps back and forth between electric and acoustic guitar, slide guitar and the banjo. His stage presence is intense. Intense the way that Nick Cave is intense. He has a phenomenal presence on this stage, and I would imagine any stage. The loyal 16 HP fans are treated to a few old classics including WAYFARING STRANGER, BLACKSOUL CHOIR and PHYLLIS RUTH. But the most impressive part of the night is the encore: A two song solo appearance on stage, banjo in hand, where he opens with STRAWFOOT, a country-esque tune that just makes you want to stamp your feet and finishes with GOLDEN ROPE, a haunting spooky song about hanging from the aforementioned rope. It is truly amazing the way that he silences the entire bar. The only sound heard is his voice, banjo and his right foot stamping along in a crazy sporadic manner.
What a truly top-notch gig, and one, which did actually exceed all of my expectations and one that will stay with me for a long time. My greatest regret is that I will never get the chance to see 16 HP play live. My greatest conciliation is that I at least got to see a part of the band play, and a vital part at that.