1939 Ensemble, Wovenhand @ Doug Fir 1/29/2013
Jose Mendeles might be the coolest guy in Portland. His knowledge of all things drum translates directly through all of his appendages. It only makes sense, as he surrounds himself with beautiful vintage kits and toys at his NE Prescott shop Revival Drums. Alongside David Coniglio, the duo known as 1939 Ensemble got an otherwise typical Wednesday night warmed up in funky, polyrhythmic fashion. Then came Denver, Colorado trio Wovenhand.
It has often been written that attending a show by Wovenhand is akin to a revival, It has also been written that their live shows can inspire an experience so visceral, so transcendent that one is left with a tangible feeling of bewilderment. Watching lead singer David Eugene Edwards (formerly of alt-country powerhouse 16 Horsepower) is like seeing John the Baptist return from the deep prairie—exuding the aura of lone hermit on a quest for the divine with his Stetson firmly in place. Edwards is a devout Christian and his music is brimming with references to faith lost and regained, the nature of good and evil, of repentance and mercy, and the delicate space between sinner and saint. Out on tour supporting their newest record The Laughing Stalk (Glitterhouse Records), Edwards’s cohorts provide a wondrous compliment: the pounding of the exuberant, thunderous percussion from long-time drummer Ordy Garrison, and the heavy, lugubrious bass line of bassist/guitarist Pascal Humbert creates a theatrical, soaring combination.
Prior to the show, I had been unfamiliar with the music of Wovenhand—luckily, I have more evolved friends—and soon, I was a convert. The gilded, rustic interiors of The Doug Fir had just the right amount of intimacy and it made for a perfect arena for the converts, long-time congregants and transitory strangers, with whom Wovenhand guides to salvation in the pleasures of sound and the endurance of the soul.
Words by Rachael Haigh.
Photos and Intro by Ryan Dornfeld.