Bearded flannel horsepower makes for a great live show
by Nick Black
There are a mere few great bands that will kick your ass as soon as you hear them. Most great bands, or singer/songwriters, take time to grow on you. I think every single Radiohead album I’ve heard takes at least a solid month for me to truly get into. I’m not saying that Band of Horses is on the same level as Radiohead, but they do take just as much time, if not maybe a little more, before one can truly understand what they are trying to do. What will speed up that process is going to see them live. Hunter S. Thompson once wrote when he was reading One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, that the book “was good, if not maybe great, but it’s like water when all you want is whiskey.” At first, Band of Horses felt like that to me: all bag and no balls, but that’s where seeing them live comes in. They are straight up rock and roll.
Last year I was fortunate enough to see them open for Beck. Let’s face it, most of us concert goers rarely bother to make the opener, for a number of reasons: beer being too expensive is definitely number one; those first few openers we did bother to go see in our early concert days really disappointed; and they often have ridiculous names that are trying far too hard to be clever, and thus force us to hate them without even hearing their music.
Well, last year I made the effort to see the opener at Beck, and, being brutally honest, Band of Horses killed it. In fact, they blew Beck out of the water. They had a huge band, up to nine on stage at one point (admittedly some were guest performers), flannel shirts and huge beards; in other words, they oozed rock and roll. When Beck came out afterward, in a ludicrous Jamie Foxx style fedora and skinny jeans, it was hard to see him as the musical virtuoso he is. Perhaps that was Band of Horses’ mistake; they were too good to be an opener.
All my ridiculous ranting aside, everyone must check out Band of Horses when they finally headline their own big show here in Vancouver at the Commodore on September 4th, you will not be disappointed.