Leicester-based six piece By The Rivers formed in 2010 and were among the five future stars of the pyramid stage at Glastonbury festival by 2013, charting a rise that was built upon a great live reputation. The band, currently comprised of vocalist and guitarist Nile Barrow, percussionist and vocalist Jordan Birtles, guitarist and vocalist Sam Read, bassist Brogan Finnigan, saxophonist Will Todd and trumpeter Theo Seaton, released their debut full length album in 2013, bookended by their earlier two tone and roots infused singles and their latest EP What You See. Reggae’s messages of positivity and social commentary are present in their music, which soundtracks the festival season and warms in the winter.
Ahead of their show at Band on the Wall on 9th December, here are five key tracks that introduce the band.
By The Rivers – Vulture
What began as “two guys jamming in an attic” quickly became much more, with an expanded band allowing for a punchier live sound. Vulture, the opening cut from their debut album, is a statement track if ever there was one.
The Congos – Fisherman
Classic ska and reggae are key stylistic influences on the group, with the rhythmic and melodic signatures of each style present in their music. They name artists like Bob Marley and Toots & The Maytals as influences and give this classic track from The Congos’ Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry-produced debut album Heart of the Congos a pop infusion.
By The Rivers – One Step Two Step
Reggae DJ and tastemaker David Rodigan is a fan of the group and has played tracks like One Step Two Step on his BBC Radio 1 Xtra show. Joe Henwood guests on baritone saxophone for this number, recorded and produced by Tom Excell at Henwood Studios.
By The Rivers – What You See
What You See introduces a broader Afro-Caribbean and African influence, with a highlife-esque guitar line and a rhythm, although slower in tempo, similar to ones heard in Zouk or Mbaqanga styles. Always warm, melodic and catchy, as the band have matured they have developed ways to incorporate a greater range of music flavour without compromising their musical identity.
By The Rivers – Run Home (live at Glastonbury)
By The Rivers’ reputation is built on energetic live performances. They won over the BBC Introducing tent at the 2013 Glastonbury festival, as this live footage of Run Home confirms.