Band of Horses, Indie-Rock darlings during the same era in which Rilo Kiley (with Jenny Lewis) were tearing up the cool-kid scene in the mid to late 2000’s, played a sold out show at the Town Ballroom last night, and while their set didn’t wow anybody, they did play some of their older songs from that previous era which did sound good. The lead singer, and only continual band member from that time, Ben Bridwell, has the same voice that he did on 2006’s ‘Everything All The Time’ and 2007’s ‘Cease To Begin’, but struggled to hit the high notes in the song “Monsters” which they led off with, but by the fourth song “Is There A Ghost”, he found his form and was right on for the rest of the night.
The highlights of the night were definitely their songs from their first two albums when their mountain-man, indie aesthetic was at its peak. These songs represent a feeling from an era when we were younger, but still lost in another political wilderness and unsure of where we belonged. The tracks represent longing but also hope that true love and peace was out there.
Band of Horses are a high energy band but not the kind of band that makes you get out of your seat and move your body. Their sound and style is the kind that makes you want to put the whole album on the stereo during a snowstorm and sit in front of the fire with your special someone wrapped up in a big blanket.
There is a time and a place for Band of Horses and I still really like them, but honestly I was not impressed by any of their newer songs including those from their most recent release from 2016 ‘Why Are You OK’. They had a formula that they perfected in 2006 and 2007 and their newer songs just seem like poorly executed attempts to recreate that. I am not criticizing them for that though; how many bands do we still see coming around who haven’t even had a new song in over 10 years who play their old hits and sell out shows? It works for them and the truth is we are all pretty sentimental when it comes to music that brings us back to a former time and place. Clearly other people agree with me as the show was packed with 30 and 40 somethings; the only people I saw there who appeared to be in their 20’s were there with their parents.
Highlights of the show were the songs “No One’s Gonna Love You”, “The Funeral”, and “St. Augustine”. Band of Horses are still good and it was pretty neat to catch up with them 10 years after I last saw them at the Austin City Limits Festival in 2008. I did like them better when they all had mountain man beards however. Same thing with The Black Keys. Overall, I’d give the show a B – not great, but solid and a good time.