Band of Horses delivered a strong performance Tuesday in Salt Lake City, and just might prove to be a band in it for the long haul.
Led by the sweet-voiced Ben Bridwell, the band with a seemingly perpetually changing lineup was tight all night, delivering all the lush beauty fans have become accustomed to through three albums delivered in the past five years. I can't remember a show at In The Venue ever sounding better, at least from my spot in the caged-animal, 21 section of the place.
Credit Bidwell and Co. for that; the current incarnation of the band has been together long enough to form a remarkably cohesive unit, and even though Bidwell is clearly the ace and leader of the band, all the members were engaging on stage.
Band of Horses wisely started the show with "The Great Salt Lake," saving themselves (and us in the audience) from hearing fans yell out requests for it all night. From that point forward, it was a non-stop run of should-be-hits mixed in with the band's more familiar tunes. Most songs were backed with nature-filled film clips projected on a massive screen behind the stage, playing up the band's bucolic shtick, but not to an annoying degree.
"Is There a Ghost" and "Weed Party" (complete with massive, stinky participation from the audience) were both early highlights of the show as Bridwell guided the band through a set that drew almost equally from the band's three releases: 2006's Everything All The Time, 2007's Cease to Begin and this year's major-label debut Infinite Arms.
The newest songs, recorded for Infinite Arms by this lineup, benefitted most from the band's dextrous blend of beautiful harmonies and slightly countrified rock; "Factory," "Compliments" and "Laredo" were all among the best performances of the night. That's not to say the band's older material suffered in comparison. The crowd went nuts for the Bridwell ballad "No One's Gonna Love You" from Cease, as well as "The First Song' and "The Funeral" from the band's debut.
As I watched the 90-minute show unfold, I was struck by how remarkably strong Band of Horses entire catalog is. It's hard to think of another young American rock band that's had quite as strong a streak in the past four years. That bodes well for the future, for both Band of Horses and their fans.