Thursday, 12 November 2009

750 BAND OF HORSES, The Virgins, London Shepherd's Bush Empire, Tuesday 8 July 2008

A seemingly promising evening ended up a real disappointment for a variety of reasons. Rachel, who'd missed my recent BOH Thekla gig, booked tix for this one after really warming to their scorched alt-Country meets wall-of-sound CDs. However she fell ill at the last minute so had to miss this one. D'oh! So just Tim and myself for this, as we drove up debating the merits of Band Of Horses selling out such a big venue as this, after such a swift rise to prominence. Could they carry it off?

Parked up at 8, failing to sell our spare ticket, then hit the venue to catch half of the Virgins' support slot. They were totally forgettable bland pop with an almost 80's feel - Haircut 100 meets Hot Hot Heat, only nowhere near as good as that should sound! Had a drink and wander instead, baulking at the merch prices - £20 for t-shirts these days? Ouchie!

Took a position by the bar on the floor, stage right, behind some dickhead who yelled "whooo" repeatedly throughout. Was I/ am I ever that bad at a gig? Hope not! Band Of Horses arrived at 9 and proceeded to "rock out", kicking off with an oomph to "Great Salt Lake" and following it up with their best number, "Is There A Ghost", which really soared, benefitting from the powerful live rendition. The crowd were well up for this one, and so was the headbanded Ben Bridwell, shouting and throwing rock shapes like Springsteen. Unfortunately, the rock treatment detracted from the intricate delicacy of many of their numbers, and the set varied from powerful and punchy, to loud and somewhat clumsy.

They partly redeemed themselves with a touching "No-One's Gonna Love You" and a trad new country number sung by big keyboardist Ryan, however at the end of a dragging 1 hour 20 minute set we were gone, a little disappointed that they'd tried to raise their game by raising the volume. Grandaddy effortlessly walked the tightrope between power and delicacy, Band Of Horses currently do not.

And to cap it all, we had to detour via Heathrow due to an M4 closure, so got back late. So a disappointment all round, I'm afraid...

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