It’s a real test of a band to have a full-on newbie come to your show and convert them on the spot. I could see that happening at this show, though the major chunk of the crew there were FANS… flannel clad brohans and the girls sporting the nouveau hippy façade (you know, the straight long hair held back with the Joni Mitchell mini head-band…)
Anyway, I was more of a tweener when it comes to Band of Horses. I’d heard their stuff a few times, but not enough to be ALL IN. Just enough to be curious, and to check the show.
And a nice, sweet show it was. This is a band that represents well on record, and does it just a bit better live. Not quite like Vampire Weekend say, a RECORD band who faithfully repro’s the recording live, or on the other side like an Audioslave who transforms on the stage.
An in between. If you like the records, you’re gonna like the show. And vice versa. After checking the show and then going back to the vinyl (in a manner of speaking), I can see the key. The songs are good! BOH is more on the mellow side, but many tracks have an ascending quality to them, building on layers of voice and guitar much like a backwoods brand of Built to Spill. Or like a lovechild of Radiohead and Dan Fogelberg (look him up), if a band and a man could procreate.
The best tracks at the show, like The Great Salt Lake etc, a climbing Shins-like piece of jangle pop, or Islands on the Coast, a rolling soaring piece, have a touch of the anthemic to them and so translate well on the bigger stage. Especially a bigger stage like the Greek in Berkeley where you can still catch a whiff of the Summer of Love wafting in from the big city across the bay.
It’s all groovy and love-y, with the BIG tracks like Ode to LRC stepping up and rocking, and the crooners like the Marry Song making you want to break out the lighter and sway to and fro with your girl by your side. Even the light Seattle-centric Detlef Schrempf (the song, not the hooper) came off real nice live, in a dreamy sorta rolling-along-in-a-70s-station wagon kinda way.
All topped off with the most massive Happy B-day I’ve ever witnessed (check the Guinness book for the real record), it was a show to get you juiced on your new favorite band of the moment.
And the Songs…
Ode to LRC
The Great Salt Lake
Is There a Ghost
Cigarettes, Wedding Bands
Just The Other Side of Nowhere
Islands on the Coast
The General Specific
Am I A Good Man
No One's Gonna Love You