Wovenhand, that’s a name spoken forth on the desert plains and carried on the wind to bring forth spiritual awakenings. A name that evokes Americana, both in its glory and dark distorted history. It’s a name you only dare speak once you’ve sampled a third-eye opening herb plucked directly from the earth, and you don’t say it once, you chant it over and over until you’re taken out of your body and becoming one with the red clay mountain tops and mesas. That’s what you were in for if you caught the David Eugene Edward’s fronted project called Wovenhand at Saint Vitus recently.
Opening the night, and setting the tone was a new act, Nathianel Shannon & The Vanishing Twin. This was a straightforward heavy sound punctuated with moments of humor as Shannon, a photographer from Michigan, chatted with the crowd. In the spirit of many metal bands, there was plenty of wailing guitars, and thumping bass lines, with plenty of head bangable moments thrown in.
Next up was Subrosa, a heavier and darker act out of Salt Lake City, Utah. Howls, wails, and hairflips were the order of the night here. The band invokes a pending sense of doom, and fittingly brought the lights down to match the vibe they were putting forth. This isn’t the band for the faint of heart seeking out radio-friendly vibe. They challenge your audio sensibilities with brooding and towering crescendos meant to tap in to your angst and smash it, then they rebuild with a steely foundation to put you forth on a highway with no lights.
And once that foundation was built it was time for Wovenhand to destroy all that had come before and put you on a journey into the American foundation – the kind built on the backs on the people who first lived the land and all those who were destroyed in its making. Uncomfortable? Sure, but that desert dance vibe David Eugene Edwards puts forth make it entirely enjoyable.
Edwards is dressed like cowboy who can boogie. His set dressing is American flags draped over amps, and a lace-entwined flag hanging from a mic that would later grind the show to halt. The vocal echo Edwards sings through makes you feel like you’re listening to a preacher with a wind-burnt face who’s bringing forth incantations to awaken your preternatural senses and challenge your perceptions. It’s the music of desert-born hymns and fuzzy guitars. It’s storytelling that makes you a part of the lessons you’re learning.
Even that mic burning out and causing the band to rework the setup couldn’t really slowdown the southern gothic cries coming forth. Even after guitarist Charles Edward French gave up his mic so Edwards could continued his amplified wail, you could see him still singing backup without any mics. And while Edwards is clearly the vision and expression of Wovenhand, you cannot deny the masterful drumming coming at you thanks to Ordy Garrison. This is a drummer whose name needs to be up there with best of them. The man is in total control of that kit and sends forth everything he has to offer.
Edwards is minimalist in his on stage movements (while standing on his southwestern afghan) but appears to be caught in his own trance much of the time as his eyes rolled up and his hands, when not strumming away, appeared to be weaving spells non-stop. Wovenhand is music created from the soul of America, with all its history rapped in it – designed to transform you.
Article: Omar Kasrawi