When Rivers Meet // Arielle //Live Review // The Fleece // Bristol
Following their first UK tour in 2019 and a popular live stream mid-pandemic, husband and wife duo When Rivers Meet are back again on their UK Breaker of Chains tour.
Accompanied by experimental rock singer and guitarist Arielle, this event almost completely sold out, evidence of their growing popularity and hearty fan base. With some fantastic press in recent years, witnessing them live for ourselves was a must.
An eclectic pic n mix made up of mostly blues, country-rock and folk, Arielle arrives around 8 pm and just stuns everybody with striking bursts of sonic colour. She’s certainly a talent with her fluid, Hendrix-like chops which compliment a gorgeously feminine vocal. A skilled guitarist in her own right, she is clearly at home on the stage, engaged deeply in her craft as is the female drummer, who is also lost in the rhythms. The bassist is flawless in his execution, keeping time on a very crisp sounding five-string bass.
The seventies era has clearly been a strong influence on Arielle, and can be seen and felt in the band’s musicality, dress and delivery. The show feels immersive and almost transcendental in places, appearing to touch on the live experimentation style typical of early performances at festivals like Glastonbury and Woodstock. It’s amazing that this free-spirited musical atmosphere is still being relived in our generation.
Hints of country and blues can be detected throughout, yet each song feels unique. Some make you feel like you’re in the dance scene of an American high school romance film, others like you’re at a barn party with Dolly Parton. Some have a calmness about them, and one almost resembles the blissful instrumentals and rhythms of Fleetwood Mac’s famous song, Albatross. All of them however are bright, colourful, emotive, and above all highly creative. The sort of artist who is tricky to pin down to any one genre, Arielle puts on a brilliantly engaging and expansive performance which we think shines the brightest in a live environment.
Musical duos have been a treasured pastime in music culture since time immemorial, and When Rivers Meet is definitely up there with some of the best.. You just can’t beat a duo who work well together, and these guys definitely do. Bringing a ton of energy, talent, and their passion for live performance, they also treat the audience more like an involved community than mere onlookers.
It’s no wonder their fan base is growing so quickly.
As the pair step onto the stage, the crowd just explodes into massive applause and smoke machines go off. The singer, dressed in leather, studs and knee high boots walks confidently around the stage There’s a lovely synergy between Grace and Aaron ford, who plays guitar and incorporates his slide. A positive connection between the other band members can be felt too, and despite not listening to this style of music usually this band’s energy alone is so contagious it’s hard not to absorb it and dance along.
Grace plays a tiny blue slide guitar with the words ‘When Rivers Meet ‘ etched into its belly. This thing produces an insane amount of noise considering how small it is. Funnily enough Grace is also quite tiny but packs some very powerful vocals, something listeners are often surprised by.
The only downside to the evening was that Aaron Ford’s voice was a little quiet in places during the set, possibly due to some technical issues. However the incredible harmonies during the other songs more than made up for it and this went unnoticed.
If you want an invigorating live blues-rock experience, this band is truly one not to be missed.
Oh, and if you ever get the chance to buy them a drink, we heard they like sherry.
Colchester, Arts Centre (Sold Out) Friday 28 April 2023Norwich, Waterfront Saturday 29 April 2023Brighton, Komedia Thursday 4 May 2023London, Lafayette Saturday 6 May 2023Bristol Fleece Thursday 11 May 2023Birmingham, Asylum Friday 12 May 2023
Southampton, 1865 Saturday 13 May 2023
Tavistock, Wharf Sunday 14 May 2023
Barnard Castle, The Witham (Last Few) Friday 19 May 2023
Glasgow, The Garage Saturday 20th May 2023
Newcastle, University Students Union Sunday 21 May 2023
Nottingham, Rescue Rooms (Last Few) Thursday 25 May 2023