Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Live Review: Band of Horses@Schubas 6/6/06

Band of Horses is a brand-new band playing their first tour ever. While it’s true that Bridwell has been in the scene a long time (previously with Carissa’s Weird), it’s still a new sound with a new group of players. As a result, the band definitely played like it was their first time on a stage, and it was clear they had many kinks to work out in terms of their live stage show. The band spent countless minutes in between songs tuning and changing instruments, from lap steel to guitar to bass to a different guitar. Unfortunately, all that tuning didn’t always pay off, like when Bridwell felt forced to put his bass down altogether during “Our Swords.” Their playing at times seemed rough, and the band blew all the obvious encore material during the set, leaving the audience with a slow solo ballad so brand new that Bridwell needed to bring out a sheet of lyrics to help him through the finale. That being said, I still really enjoyed the show, even though everything I’ve described so far might normally have me heading for the door. This was primarily due to one reason: the fantastic stage presence of Ben Bridwell. His personality and energy were so engaging it was impossible not to like him and everything he did, especially when he threw his fists up in the air after each song, seemingly victorious that they’d made it through. He could spend too much time tuning the guitar, but the effortless jokes he told while we waited made it bearable. When he gave up on the bass during “Our Swords,” I laughed with him rather than sigh with frustration. Instead of seeing a band that had trouble getting it together, I saw a band just getting started. And regardless of the roughness of the show, everything still sounded good. Bridwell’s voice rang out clear and crisp across the small venue, stronger than the album might imply; opening song “Monsters” especially showcased his voice as he sat behind his lap steel, spastically tapping his foot while the band waited to join in. About halfway through the set, the band asked each other, “Should we do the cover? How about we do the cover? Let’s do the cover!” and then broke into a slowed down version of Hall and Oates’ “You Make My Dreams Come True,” which was hilarious and awesome at the same time. The majority of Everything All the Time made its way onto the set list, including “The Great Salt Lake,” “Wicked Gil,” and set-closer “The Funeral,” with Bridwell’s enthusiasm shining through them all the way. And even though the new songs seemed unfinished or ill placed, they still provided a glimpse into future material that most likely won’t disappoint. Great, memorable shows need three things: good source material, good execution of that source material live, and a good stage presence by the band. Band of Horses put on a good show because they got two out of three; with so much time ahead to refine their ability to bring those great songs to the stage, there’s potential for a great show yet. -Nicole Chavas (Check out more of Nicole's pics from the show here)


Post a Comment

<< Home