Band of Horses

Nascar, the Bible Belt, Fried Chicken, Grits, The Atlanta Braves, Martin Luther King, Coca Cola. You get the picture. Great things from the delight that is South of the good old US of A. Well, you can now add to this iconic list of American greats Band of Horses, a five piece rock country outfit whom I’m not heard hide nor hair of till a bitterly cold Friday evening in Brum at the end of January 2011.

Band of Horses

Evidently missing both a comb and a beard trimmer off their rider, the five archetypal ‘Southerners’ – sporting checked shirts, tattoos and baseball caps – whom on first appearances would have been more at home performing at the Crab Shack in Birmingham Alabama, rather than the Academy sponsored by O2 in Birmingham, made their way to the stage to the evident appreciation of the eclectic crowd who had braved the elements to greet them.

Band of Horses

Fronted by the enigmatic Ben Bridwell they kicked off with a lively up tempo number. Melodically great and musically extremely competent, it’s easy to see why ‘Band’ have got such a cult following. Reminiscent of an early day Kings of Leon/Neil Young music seems to flow through their every pore.

Band of Horses

Now. I could lie and say I’ve been a fan of the band for years. That I’ve watched them progress from their inception in 2004, know all of their songs and follow them round the country watching all of their gigs. As I say, that would be a lie. Consequently I can’t tell you what songs they played, from which albums and in what order. What I can do however, is to pracae the ninety minutes of truly wonderful music.
Flitting between two extremes of high tempo country romp to soft acoustic ballad (and very often meeting somewhere in the middle), the boys produced a set which was enticing, enjoyable, sometimes melancholic and then just as it appeared that proceedings were coming to that inevitable ‘mid gig lull’… whammo! They’d sock you you right between the eyes with an absolute stonker.

Band of Horses

Fast song moved to slow, romantic ‘slowly’ weaved into country rock ‘stomp’ and then before you knew it the cycle started again. Splendid! Aided and abetted with three guitarists, a Hammond organist and multiway vocal harmonies, they had a really full sound, without it becoming too overpowering. Visually the band ‘worked’ and the glorious photographic backdrop of their homeland added to the overall ambience.

Band of Horses

In all the gigs I’ve been to, I’ve never seen so many loved up couples, hugging one another affectionately (maybe it was the cold???). Band of Horses certainly evoke a feel good factor and it was there in abundance during the set. If you’ve not seen them I can wholeheartedly recommend doing so. You won’t be disappointed.

Gig Review by Zak EdwardsEmail Zak
Live Music Photography by Bianca BarrettEmail Bianca

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