Review by Christy

[Reflection on Woven Hand at Tasty World, Athens, Georgia, U.S.A., April 12, 2008]

On to the show.  We noticed David and Ordy stayed in the audience to watch the local opening musician, Don Chambers (I actually work at the same place as him--Athens is not a big town).  His music is similar to older 16 HP, so I hope David enjoyed it.  Then Woven Hand went on, and once they set up their instruments, they simply started playing without introduction.  They launched with full, incredible intensity into "Tin Finger" and the electricity never once left the air.  The hall was packed and all were silent except for clapping between the songs--everyone seemed under their spell.  (I was relieved our usually talkative local audience was behaving!)  Woven Hand included songs from all three Woven Hand albums, plus "Phyllis Ann" and also a new one that David played with the banjola.  I was surprised that even though the tour was to support their upcoming new album, they only debuted one new song.  But this made me happy because it meant I got to hear my favorites (these are not in order):  "Wooden Brother," "Blue Pail Fever," "Whistling Girl," "Dirty Blue," "Winter Shaker," "Chest of Drawers," "The Speaking Hands," a very slow and meditative "Down in Yon Forest" (much different from the album version), "Deerskin Doll." 
[There is only one song I had been hoping for and didn't hear:  "Your Russia."]  Woven Hand seems to be in a hard rock mood because most of the songs were loud with a driving rhythm--my legs were sore from pounding my feet in time.  Ordy is my new hero--he is such a sensitive, forceful and riveting drummer!  I had not appreciated him fully until that night--he could tour solo if he wanted and I would happily go see him.  I remarked to my husband Paul, "Jean-Yves WHO?  Ordy is not allowed to ever leave Woven Hand!"

David seemed very engaged in the performance.  He never looked directly at the audience or said anything to us except "thank you for clapping"
once, and after the enthusiastic clapping and yelling for the encore, an understated "thank you for all that" with a wry smile and the audience laughed warmly at the joke.  But he showed his love for the audience where it counted-- through the performance itself--and the audience seemed to be holding its breath during the entire intense set.  David was seeming transported during the songs, motioning to his head and body during "All scarlet the cover that over it spread" during "Down in Yon Forest" and to his knee during "the knees shall be broken" in "Chest of Drawers" and doing his trademark of covering one eye with his right hand while he sings.  I also enjoyed his spastic kicking when he really gets into a song--very un-self-conscious.  Meanwhile, Ordy was cool and calm throughout but had a palpable connection with David as he played, made more apparent by their physical closeness on the small stage.  Before this concert I was afraid the duo format would be missing something--a "light" version of a real concert.  I couldn't have been more wrong, as there was an awe-inspiring energy and passion (and volume!) that drove each song, and long after the concert ended my heart was pounding and my ears ringing.

But I get ahead of myself.  The crowd gave a big recognition cheer at the beginning of the encore when David began his characteristic live version of "Black Soul Choir."  A-ha!  Lots of Sixteen Horsepower fans in the audience!  It was a wonderful ending and I noted he changed the words slightly: "every GIRL is a liar" (which I hear he has been doing lately to make the song more equal) and "I would offer up a brick to the back of MY OWN head, boy" (an intriguing brand-new variation, to my knowledge).  Ordy added a subtle kick drum partway through the song that really urged it along.  Even though they must have played the song together hundreds of times, it felt fresh and alive with earnestness and warning.

The show ended and the crowd went crazy.  After the lights went back on and the band was dismantling their stage set-up, it seemed every person in the audience was going up to the edge of the stage to shake David's hand and thank him.  He was patient and stopped to give a friendly greeting to each new comer.  No one, however, was talking to Ordy (!?!) so we got his attention, Paul told him "great show," and I got carried away and shouted "You rocked my face off!"  Ordy laughed as I hoped he would and seemed happy.  We didn't want to be the 60th person to interrupt David as he was trying to get off the stage with his equipment, but didn't want to risk him going backstage and not coming back out, either--so we waited awkwardly at the edge of the stage and shook his hand again, told him it was wonderful, and I said the show was even better than I had hoped it would be and added "Please come back!" 
I'm hoping he made a mental note.  ;-)

Christy 2008