I went down to Newport last Sunday to see Band of Horses at the Southgate House. It was a sold out show, which is nice because it makes me sound like I’m cooler than I actually am. The downside is that I had to stand around all night shoulder-to-shoulder with a bunch of indie hipsters spewing forth cigarette smoke and insipid comments like, “Oh, you think Band of Horses kicks ass? You should check out Ben’s old band, Clarissa’s Wierd.” Grrr.
Even the crowd and the smoke and the backaches and the other usual hazards couldn’t spoil this show for me. It was simply the best rock concert I’ve seen in years. I was surprised that I enjoyed it so much considering that I didn’t really care for the band the first time around. I listened to Everything All the Time two or three times when it came out, but it didn’t do much for me. I liked the singles, but nothing else jumped out at me. I forgot all about the band until I saw them perform “Is There a Ghost” on Letterman last fall (see video below). That song stuck with me. Soon after, I dug out my copy of Everything All the Time and gave it another chance. I eventually picked up Cease to Begin.
I don’t want to take anything away from those two albums (because I’ve since decided there’s not a bad song on them), but Band of Horses is far better in a live setting. I was amazed at the energy they brought to these songs. I’m not just talking about the rockers like “Weed Party” and “Wicked Gil”, either. I’m also talking about the slow ones like “Monsters” and “No One’s Gonna Love You”. “Monsters”, which started off the night, was so damn beautiful. I was in awe. I couldn’t stop smiling. I thought they wouldn’t be able to top it, but they did…again and again.
Band of Horses played 16 songs in all. Six were from Everything All the Time, while seven came from the new record. They also played J.J. Cale’s “Thirteen Days” and a Creedence cover called “Effigy”. Rounding out the night was a song written and sung by the keyboardist, Ryan Monroe. A lot of people used it as a chance to make a beer run, but it was a surprisingly enjoyable song. I wished they’d played “Detlef Schrempf” and “Part One”, but it’s not a big deal. I’m not complaining. It was a great night.
Here’s the typed-out setlist:
Main set: Monsters/The First Song/Is There a Ghost/The Great Salt Lake/Weed Party/Cigarettes, Wedding Bands/Thirteen Days (J.J. Cale)/Older (Ryan Monroe)/No One’s Gonna Love You/Islands on the Coast/Wicked Gil/Ode to LRC/The Funeral
Encore: Effigy (Creedence)/Marry Song/The General Specific
[NOTE: My brother also attended this concert. He raved about it afterward, so I’m not the only one who thought it was a special show.]