When Band of Horses announced they would be playing two shows at the Hammerstein Ballroom on the same night, one acoustic and one electric, it had the feeling of a special event. When the band decided to play their entire catalog over the course of those two shows it upped the ante even more giving fans everything they could have possibly wished for from the group.
Starting off on the 7th floor of the venue in the intimate Grand Ballroom the five piece outfit performed a number of tunes with an acoustic bent as various members participated in various songs from the groups back catalog. Starting with their signature gorgeous vocals over delicate guitars for “On My Way Back Home” was a fitting opener as Ben Bridwell mentioned multiple times throughout both shows how much he loved this venue.
The whole night had a comfortable laid back vibe as the band felt at ease playing in front of fans, the acoustic setup in particular felt like an opportunity to sit in on a bands rehearsal session. Bridwell mentioned he would be slaying “Two sacred cows tonight” and the first was a solo take on “St Augustine” which found him forgetting the second verse but receiving help and support from the crowd.
Bridwell was then joined by lead guitarist Tyler Ramsey for a passionate version of “No One’s Gonna Love You”. Ryan Monroe came out to play a grand piano as the trio tackled “Detlef Schrempf” and “Neighbor” which they mentioned they only played once before, at Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit.
Showcasing the intimacy of this show, someone in the crowd yelled out “Skynyrd!” to which Bridwell responded “Yeah, let’s play that”. Monroe started up “Simple Man” and told the group the chords. Obviously unplanned the band worked their way through it with help from the crowd; singing and smiling the whole way. The free flowing group also teased a bit of Genesis with “That’s All” piano lines before skipping that song to play “Wicked Gil”
Ending with “The Funeral” and a get-up-on-your-feet acoustic version of “The General Specific” brought the first show to a joyous close as Bridwell noted “We will see you downstairs in a bit!”
The group continued their career defining night by kicking off the electric part of the evening with “For Annabelle” which found Bridwell playing harmonica as a silhouette of a buck walked across the bands backdrop. The natural pictures/lights/animation the band pairs with their music is perfect, adding a sense of easy oneness and mysticism in a homespun way.
While the vocal harmonies, pianos and acoustic guitars dominated the early set, drummer Creighton Barrett and bassist Bill Reynolds laid down a loud and powerful low end in the bigger performance space owning “The First Song”, “Electric Music”, and “Factory”. “The Great Salt Lake” took on its epic place amongst the swelling guitars and vocals while the newer “Knock Knock” had a 50’s shake to it that added appeal.
“Cigarettes, Wedding Bands” received the biggest cheer from the crowd but that was before the band ripped into a few favorites, “Laredo”, “Ode To The LRC” and the first of only 3 repeats on the night, “The Funeral”. After that Bridwell mentioned they would be taking a short break and coming back for another full set of tunes. While a portion of the crowd split the band was back on stage in less than 10 minutes, diving back into things via a bass/drum/lead vocals version of “Our Swords”.
Ramsey then took over the spot light with a great airing of his delicate “Everything’s’ Gonna Be Undone” from
Clearly relishing in the comfort and ease of the night the band ended by slaying its “second sacred cow” in tackling “I Go To The Barn Because I Like The” with a few missteps that were quickly forgiven by cheers. “Monsters” and a surprising “Neighbor” reprise put a cap on a simply special night of music that the band and its fans will always remember.
Playing every song your ever record (oddly minus “Islands On the Coast”) for four albums worth of material is a tall order for any band and Band of Horses pulled it off winningly with their warm easy going attitude and hypnotic singing/playing in a venue they are quickly claiming as their new home.
BAND OF HORSES – 12.11.12 – MANHATTAN CENTER
On My Way Back Home / Marry Song / Dilly / Long Vows / Shut-In Tourist / St. Augustine / Evening Kitchen / No One’s Gonna Love You / Neighbor / Detlef Schrempf / How to Live / Lamb on the Lam (in the City) / Simple Man / Slow Cruel Hands of Time / Wicked Gil / The Funeral / The General Specific
Electric Set 1
For Annabelle / The First Song / Electric Music / Part One / Older / A Little Biblical / Weed Party / The Great Salt Lake / Blue Beard / Compliments / Dumpster World / Cigarettes, Wedding Bands / Factory / Knock Knock / Window Blues / Laredo / Ode to LRC / The Funeral
Electric Set 2
Our Swords / Everything’s Gonna Be Undone / No One’s Gonna Love You / NW Apt. / Feud / Is There a Ghost? / Heartbreak on the 101 / Infinite Arms / I Go to the Barn Because I Like The / Monsters / Neighbor