It’s been a long wait since Wovenhand’s 2016 album, Star Treatment, though disciples of founder David Eugene Edwards were fed well by his rich and mysterious 2018 collaboration with Alexander Hacke of Einstürzende Neubauten, Risha (Glitterhouse). Wovenhand, which Edwards founded in Denver in 2001, has gradually shifted over the years from an intense, stark gothic country feel to a more electrified, louder, and heavier sound. The effect has been akin to watching something ancient and chthonic rise out of the dusty earth, summoned by Edwards’s apocalyptic prophet vibe, and learn to take a fierce joy in the noise and bustle of the modern world. The band’s latest album, Silver Sash (Sargent House), came out earlier this year, and though Edwards typically does the bulk of the songwriting, this time around he let longtime guitarist Chuck French (also of Planes Mistaken for Stars) take the reins on more material than ever before—the shift feels seamless, because both musicians possess a fine sense of melody, drama, climax, and resolution. Opener “Tempel Timber” sets the tone with a wild mix of sounds and energies: clean and distorted, restrained and unhinged. “Dead Dead Beat” has a straightforward postpunk drive with a flash of dark playfulness (“Here the mountains divide the gods / The devil has lost his phone,” Edwards sings, “Lock down the room / Leave no unturned stone”). The epic boneshaker “8 of 9” showcases the maturation of Wovenhand’s heavy industrial influence.
All that said, Edwards will play this set at Beat Kitchen solo, carrying all the weight of this work on his own shoulders. He’s always been a charismatic force in concert, never seeming contained by the band around him. Even when he performs on his own (often seated on a chair), he summons an uncanny shamanism with his cadences, hypnotic and entrancing. This is a rare opportunity to catch Edwards’s songs stripped to their bones—though those bones are sometimes terrifyingly large and half-buried in windswept desert sand. Even Wovenhand’s quietest acoustic work has a way of leaving a sensitive listener with a massive goose-bump outbreak and an impending sense of Revelation, so if you experience this yourself, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Wovenhand (a solo set by Wovenhand frontman David Eugene Edwards), Bruce Lamont, Thu 6/30, 8 PM, Beat Kitchen, 2100 W. Belmont, $25, 17+