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WITHERED HAND / JO FOSTER / DAN MUTCH – The Liquid Room, Edinburgh – Thursday 17th April 2014

Thursday’s Withered Hand show at the Liquid Room was the big homecoming to mark the release of the excellent second LP ‘New Gods’. And Edinburgh turned out in force to mark the return of Dan Willson.

Given that the Liquid Room has an over 14 licence, it also offered another opportunity for the entire MPT family to see the full band Hand and for the MPKs to make their Liquid Room debuts.

When I say “full band” I mean “full band” as the performers numbered as many as 9 at some points during the set, including brass on some songs.

The main set consisted largely of the new LP but it was only afterwards that I realised just how few oldies had been included. That may have been a surprise but it emphasised just how many great tunes there are on the new record.

The big pop tunes from ‘New Gods’, such as ‘Horseshoe’ and ‘King of Hollywood’, were played early, which left me wondering, just as at the Mirror Trap show last weekend, just what was still to come. In the end a couple of unlikely candidates were called upon to bring the main set to an end.

‘Fall Apart’ is obviously a tune that I’ve underrated so far but, in this setting,  it felt a natural fit late on. Perhaps surprisingly it was ‘Not Alone’ that finished things off (for the first time) but its dignified coda was a fitting climax.

For the first encore Dan re-appeared without band for a solo version of ‘Cornflake’ – if you don’t count the audience participation.  The hordes then reassembled for the highlight of the evening, a stunning ‘Religious Songs’ before the evening was concluded with ‘Heart Heart’ albeit with a slightly less raucous take than has been the norm recently .

Overall, there was a slightly different feel to this show. Every time I’ve seen Withered Hand in Edinburgh there’s been a great atmosphere but this one really felt like a celebration from the off. And am I wrong in thinking that Dan’s on stage demeanour   just seemed a little more confident than in the past?

In terms of the supports, a hectic day meant that we had arrived just before the end of Dan Mutch’s opening set but it was interesting to hear his abrasive pop in an acoustic setting.

He was followed by a relatively short set from Jo Foster and band. Fortunately she was a lot healthier than when supporting Dan in Cupar even if the set followed a similar format. Jo started her set on her acoustic acoustic but it really took off when she got behind the piano.

Once again I enjoyed the piano songs the most and she earned a terrific ovation at the end of her set – not least from both MPKs!

Withered Hand played:

1. Horseshoe  2. Black Tambourine  3. New Dawn  4. Providence  5. King of Hollywood  6. Love Over Desire  7. California  8. Between True Love and Ruin  9. New Gods  10. Fall Apart  11. Not Alone

Encore
12. Cornflake  13. Religious Songs  14. Heart, Heart

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