SXSW 09 Show Round-Up: Wovenhand

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I am stricken.  We just experienced a tribal, spiritual exultation unlike anything I have ever seen.  Guitar, bass, drums, some soundscape samples and an aggressive baritone, placed at the command of Holy Spirit rock prophet David Eugene Edwards create a rapturous rave, that laid waste to the room.  I have seen nearly 1000 shows in my life.  I have attended hundreds of revival and retreats.   I have never experienced anything that rendered tangible, the spiritual warfare all around us like Wovenhand did at SXSW.

Wovenhand sings of God.  Wovenhand sings not so much of the shiny, happy God of modern Christianity, but the fiery expectant God of Abraham, Moses, Isaiah, Elijah and Revelation.  Edwards’ is not a faith of judgment and condemnation, but a faith of victory.  However, for Wovenhand, victory in Christ is not an easy stroll through salvation but a hard fought battle, fought with blood on the spiritual realm.  Wovenhand knows the battle we face and vividly shines light on that clash.

Wovenhand played SXSW last night.  After a frantic set change, when the previous band just left their equipment on stage, David Eugene Edwards sat on his stool, picked up his guitar and Wovenhand launched into 40 minutes of spiritual warfare.  The forces of heaven and hell wage war through the body and hands of David Eugene Edwards.  Wovenhand’s goth, folk-rock set the walls on fire as Edwards danced on his stool, trembled and shook the vanquished demons from the stage. The audience was awestruck.

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In throes of this ecstasy, David Eugene Edwards threw his face to the side of the stage and we all recoiled as heat burst from his face, his eyes rolled back in his head.  He spun around to meet the pounding of his bass player and he leapt forward ready to snap.  All the while, the drummer pound relentlessly on his snare with a maraca.  The audience was laid waste.

This would be dangerous and almost blasphemous if not for Edward’s Faith.  Wovenhand does not use spiritual imagery to create an atmosphere.  Edwards exposes himself and the audience to spiritual battles being fought all around us.

Then Edwards began to preach though song.  Our eyes will burn at his glory.  ”Let the sound together hold you.  To the humble he has given grace. From the proud he hides his face.”  The audience was laid ways.

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Forty minutes of fierce, tribal rock music took the crowd tonight to Armageddon, purgatory, Hell and back.  The audience, believers and not, were laid waste.

I have watched as rock stars such as Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne try to conjure the images of Hell and Satan to provide them the power to command followers in the millions.  They look foolish to me now. Tonight, I saw Wovenhand demonstrate that the power of God demolishes the armies of Satan.  We were laid waste.

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As we left the SXSW venue there was a girl in the back staring, shaking her head.  We were laid waste.  Down the street, one of the official photographers caught us and said, “That was righteous. I have shot hundreds of shows this week and I have not seen anything like that.  He was singing about that Jesus stuff in some Indian chant, that was incredible.” We were laid waste.

Ian and I walked the10 blocks back to our car, two hours before tonight’s shows ended.  We walked past the main artery of SXSW onto a quiet side street, because none of the music blaring from the clubs measured up any longer.  We had not been to a music show; we had been to a revival.  We were laid waste.

Go, buy Wovenhand’s music from iTunes Wovenhand

While you are at it, buy the previous incarnation of Wovenhand, 16 Horsepower 16 Horsepower

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