Dry Cleaning Brought Strange Weather to Boise

Treefort Music Festival, March 23

Photo: Preston Valles

BY Sydney BrasilPublished Mar 25, 2024

In the time between 2021's New Long Leg and now, Dry Cleaning's tour schedule has been dizzying. In part due to speedy follow-up Stumpwork and supporting some reissues, there have been ample opportunities for the south Londoners to level up on a steady trajectory.

And level up they did at their first-ever appearance in Idaho, where a slightly late start due to sound issues was no match for what Florence Shaw and co. were about to conjure up. In a black dress evoking Kiki's Delivery Service, Shaw appeared clairvoyant, preaching cautionary tales of mundanity the world had not yet seen. An immediate switch went off between stage banter and any given track's first note as she looked beyond the park into a place only visible to her. As sun turned to foreboding clouds, it was hard not to believe she had summoned them.

Having seen Dry Cleaning on their New Long Leg run, there's an assuredness coursing through them now that came with practice. Their stoicism has evolved into a necessary force, which is what their objective has always been. Guitarist Tom Dowse has always been the band's main source of movement on stage, but now he's joined by bassist Lewis Maynard in wide-stanced head-banging. For this, one might assume a hardcore band was playing had they watched the show on mute. This works in tandem with how Dry Cleaning sound like each member is in a different band, with everything meeting in the middle to counteract the fortitude.

Their specific brand of icy, deadpan post-punk grew sludgier as the sky darkened, with Shaw joking that they "must have brought the London weather" with them. They pulled from all over their catalogue, moving from clean, to muddy, to their most energetic as it started to rain. While some cleared out, others stayed fiercely loyal as "New Job" began to climax the set's satisfying slow burn.

Older tracks from the Sweet Princess and Boundary Road Snacks and Drinks EPs became the final quarter's bread and butter, before mainstay "Scratchcard Lanyard" closed out the set, bringing true Shaw's unspoken prophecy. The on-and-off rain turned into a downpour through the song's latter half, bringing with it the coldest chill Treefort 2024 had felt thus far. 

Despite this, Shaw's visions weren't to be feared as much as enthroned. Perhaps the horrors lie in the everyday, and it takes laying out the commonplace for the rest of us to see it.

Latest Coverage