Band of Horses

“Manchester! I don’t give a shit it’s Monday, I force you to party with us!” was not the opening line I was expecting to hear from American group Band of Horses as they walked in to greet an excited Mancunian crowd. But it was certainly an apt introduction for the animated and rocking set which promptly followed. These guys put on quite the show.

Band of HorsesBand of Horses
Band of Horses

On tour to promote their fourth album ‘Mirage Rock’, the Manchester Academy proved to be an ideal venue for the five-piece to demonstrate their unique versatility and style. Recently released ‘Knock Knock’ gets the set off to a flying start, instantly upping the tempo and setting the scene for the rest of the evening. They follow it by attacking every song with gusto, flinging out thrashing drum beats and guitar solos with a confidence that is only really demonstrated with such ease by established bands.

Band of Horses
Band of Horses

Their backdrop is a simple enough concept but astonishingly effective due to how reflective it is of their sound. Scenes of tall trees and blue skies spanning the wilderness and mountain peaks provide the perfect accompaniment for the band’s American country infused indie rock; it’s the concert version of being on a road trip across North America. What really brought the show together though was those songs. Band of Horses make compositions that you wish were playing in the background of your life’s most epic moments. Be that heartbreak, joy or just witnessing something life-changing, they perform tracks which should feature on the soundtrack of your life.

Band of Horses
Band of Horses

After well over an hour of cranking out highly energetic tunes, the acoustic opening to ‘No One’s Gonna Love You’ provides a moment of absolute stillness in room and showcases the delicate side of Bridwell’s unique voice. There is a sadness about his tone that tugs on the heart strings without seeming at all contrived. He has a voice laced with soul and it transcends genres. His sound is what sets this band apart from its contemporaries. It’s what makes them truly different.

Band of Horses
Band of Horses

Well known hits like ‘Compliment’ and ‘The General Specific’ are embraced like an old friend not seen for years. It is such a pleasure to hear these songs live; they more than live up to their promise. What’s incredible about them is that you can tell they are making everyone around you in the room feel the exact same way that you are; full of warmth, and there’s a general realisation that what you are all witnessing is pretty special.

Band of HorsesBand of Horses

In a live setting Band Of Horses fully embrace the mantra ‘go big or go home’. Every song is rounded off with a powerful cacophony of deafening drums as if you’re in fact watching them at Wembley and it is the last time you’ll ever hear them play. They were on stage for two hours and rolled easily from country to rock, from melancholic ballads to dirty blues, never once tiring and barely stopping to take breath.

I will say one thing about Band of Horses; whether you are a fan or not, if you get the chance to see them live never turn it down. I challenge you not to find yourself under their spell after the experience.

Gig review by Nic Jones
Gig Photos by Carl Fleischer

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One Response to “Band of Horses @ The Academy, Manchester, UK – 19th November 2012”

  1. Review for Gig Junkies – Band of Horses | NavigatorNic Says:

    […] Band of Horses @ The Academy, Manchester, UK – 19th November 2012 […]

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