I went to see Band of Horses at the Enmore Theatre here in Sydney on Tuesday night. It's the third or fourth time I've seen them, and if possible, I think I love them even more now. It was an amazing show, absolutely worth staying out on a school night for.
1. The band members just love each other SO MUCH.
There are few things better than watching a band play, who just really freakin' love playing music with each other. Band of Horses have had a changing lineup over the years, with frontman Ben Bridwell remaining the beating heart of the group, however they've been pretty stable recently. It seems like they've found their rhythm as a little musical family. Ben hugged his fellow band members multiple times - really spontaneous "I just really love you man" type hugs.
2. Amusing lyrical substitution.
"Marry Song" from their sophomore album (and my personal favourite) Cease to Begin opens (usually) with the line "I'll marry my lover, in a place to admire." However, on Tuesday night Bridwell took it upon himself to sing the song as an ode to his impressively* bearded guitarist Tyler Ramsey - "I'll marry my Tyler." LOLs.
3. We know you have favourite songs - don't worry, we'll play them.
I like it when bands recognise the songs that helped build their audience and find success without resentment. Even if you don't know Band of Horses, odds are you've heard "The Funeral" before in a TV show or film - I think it's even been in a video game. They introduced it with a good natured nod to the audience, playing it as beautifully as ever. The setlist was a perfect combination of material from their four albums, leaving out none of the crowd favourites.
4. Ben Bridwell's voice.
It's kind of different. Unusual. A bit nasal, frankly. But it's beautiful and emotive. The man has a gift.
I also highly recommend checking out this interview and video on Pure Volume - Bridwell is an interesting guy, and behind all the beard and tattoos is widely known to be one of the happiest and most courteous performers out there. The video following the article is a live, acoustic version of one of my favourite tracks on Mirage Rock (their latest album) "Slow Cruel Hands of Time." Seriously worth watching, especially with the snow-capped Wyoming mountains in the background.
5. Ben Bridwell looks like a Muppet.
He just does. And to me, there is no greater compliment. Who doesn't want to be a Muppet?
* that was a sarcastic "impressively." I have no time for this hirsute trend of bushranger beards and wish it would go away.