Mellow Is King: Band Of Horses Live

The National; Richmond, VA, USA; August 15, 2018

by Pete Crigler

bandofhorses_350I ended up seeing Band Of Horses live in Richmond, VA after friends from Lynchburg were unable to attend and gave me their tickets, and I was at least slightly impressed. Let me explain.

First off, anyone who knows me and my musical taste knows I am the farthest thing from mellow. So, when openers Bonny Doom took the stage, I was underwhelmed. The music wasn’t bad; it was like a mixture of Luna with mid-career Wilco. There were moments when the band were ready to rock out, but then it was just a tease and they went back to their mellow indie rock. Underwhelming to say the least.

By the time Band Of Horses came out, the place was packed but it was unlike any audience I’ve ever experienced. Everyone just kinda stood there, taking the music in, drinking and moving in place. There was no pit, no slamming or moshing around me. It was unique and a bit bizarre. Even the more rockin’ selections of Horses’ set, like “In A Drawer,” didn’t find much reception. Everyone was milling around and talking, drinking, that sort of thing. It was kind of a dull audience from this man’s mind.

The band, on the other hand, was having a blast, particularly the rhythm section, who were kicking ass all night long and not afraid to show it. Songs like “Is There A Ghost” and “No One’s Gonna Love You” were upbeat affairs, and frontman Ben Bridwell sang his heart out on every track. There were a few lulls in the set, too mellow and too soft for my liking, but the hipster crowd seemed to appreciate it.

Overall, the band was good and lived up to their reputation as a stellar live act, but the audience left a lot to be desired – maybe don’t spend so much time trying to be cool and lose yourself in the music; that’s a real rock show.

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