When Rivers Meet at Gorilla, Manchester, 2/5/24

At the announcement of the When Rivers Meet tour, I was surprised they were playing a venue the size of Gorilla here in Manchester, however, it is already full when I enter so it is clear they are growing in popularity and it also means the support band are getting a great crowd.

Opening act for the tour is from the blues rock duo Dusk Brothers who are providing an excellent and sometimes fun soundscape including songs about M&M’s amongst other things.  To my ears, the drums are more interesting than just providing a beat and the sound from the cigar box guitar is superb, especially on This Is Hell.

Introducing their last song, I Became King, gets a loud cheer from a single person in the crowd but at the end of the song everyone was cheering, it’s infectious groove is like a train slowly rolling over and absorbing everyone.

Gray and ‘E’ Moncrieff – vocals, drums, guitars and other self made musical accoutrements.

Social Media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/duskbrothersmusic/
Website: duskbrothers.com
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/duskbrothers/


This is my 3rd time seeing When Rivers Meet in a little over a year and as I mentioned before the venue is full, this must be heartwarming for the band.  But with a cool image and strong songs they are onto a winner especially being fronted by husband and wife duo, Grace and Aaron Bond

With bigger venues come higher levels of stage production and the band are taking full advantage of this with the use of videos on the big screen at the back.

This is the Aces Are High tour for their most recent album which charted very high – number 9 – most impressive for an independent music artist and it is obvious they are so proud of their achievement, and so they should be.

The synthy intro music is very impressive before they launch into Infected which features Grace playing a slide solo on her electric mandolin. 

It is clear that from the start that the sound is superb, loud but not overbearing, as they launch into Seen It All Before with it’s “a ha hi” chorus that is getting everyone singing along including this curmudgeonly reviewer, with the closeness of Grace and Aaron is obvious for all to see.

Play My Game has a riff that reminds me of Led Zeppelin (no bad thing) and Grace’s voice is absolutely fantastic once more.  There is an epic tone coming from Adam Bowers bass in a short solo.

Grace’s solo on the electrified violin sounds incredible during I Can’t Fight This Feeling but Bound For Nowhere, an older song from their debut album with it’s deep groove during the chorus really grabs me.  There is yet another fabulous slide solo from Grace on the mandolin along with a huge cheer from the crowd at the end.  This is followed by another fan favourite, A Dead Man Doesn’t Lie, it is a solid rocker with great use of the screen too.

All change! The band now try to take us back to the studio boathouse in Ipswich where they would sit in a circle choosing songs for the tour and rehearsing them.  Sitting on the stage, which is sadly too small for a circle, they perform the wonderful Eye Of A Hurricane with it’s ‘you’re the only friend of mine’ refrain.  It’s a slower, singing duet between Grace and Aaron featuring a solo from Adam who has now swapped to electric guitar.  Drummer James Fox is now playing acoustic guitar wonderfully and  shows how much of a talented band they are.

They stay sat down acoustically for another duet – By Your Side – which is more of a love song between Grace and Aaron and is beautiful. This acoustic respite is just sublime and the audience respond accordingly.


We are now back to electric blues riffs and the title from their latest album Aces Are High with it’s deep, grungy, driving riff which has my head nodding and my foot tapping along, another truly infectious song.

Walking On The Wire provides all the slide guitar you could ever want from both Grace and Aaron and it all leads to set closer Free Man with it’s bouncy groove that’s just perfect for a boogie.

It’s not a long wait for the band to return for the encore, these times are Golden, so apt, and with the every so talented Adam Bowers now on piano.

They couldn’t come to Manchester and not play Did I Break The Law which goes down well with everyone.  They need to make it illegal not to see this band so you’ll be also breaking the law if you don’t – it is an utterly brilliant performance.  

I was so impressed by this show I decided to buy their latest album as a momento but the crowd around the merch booth was huge so I ordered it online on the way home. 

This is a quick 8 date tour from When Rivers Meet and they are a must see band and I feel so lucky to have seen them again.  There is a duet tour coming later in the year which is intriguing and interesting, and I can’t wait.

Grace Bond: lead vocals, mandolin, violin
Aaron Bond: Guitar and vocals
Adam Bowers: bass, guitar, keyboards, vocals
James Fox: drums, acoustic guitar

Social Media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/whenriversmeet
Website: whenriversmeet.co.uk
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/whenriversmeet/?hl=en
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/whenriversmeet
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/artist/when-rivers-meet/1464473239


About Ant Firmin