It’s rare we get to The Forum these days unlike the nineties heydays when we seemed to be there every other week. It’s a big room and tonight the sound is very off from the outset. This isn’t helped initially by an under the weather Bridwell who has been nursing his throat for a few days. I am happy to say that both the overall sound and Bridwell’s voice warmed up during the night and although you could still barely make out his between song chat it didn’t detract from the great music.
Band of Horses have had a bit of an upheaval in the past two years with two long standing members, bassist Bill Reynolds and guitarist and harmonist Tyler Ramsey both quitting the band in 2017. Ramsey especially is a huge gap to fill both musically and vocally who I think acted as an important file for the band’s rough edges.
Back to tonight and it’s a big set with large spotlights surrounding the sound which I guess they are needing for their Black Deer festival appearance on Saturday. These are used to great effect and really add to the musical spectacle.
The set tonight kicks off with a new songs and then leans heavily to the first two albums and last long player ‘Why are you OK’. All the classics are here ‘Laredo’, ‘Ode to LRC’, ‘Great Salt Lake’, ‘Ghost’ but it is obviously set closer ‘The Funeral’ that makes the hairs on your arms stand up. It’s a truly spiritual moment, beginning with a simple hushed guitar and just Bridwell’s fragile voice building and building to that spectacular crescendo when the band and audience kick in and take over before we are taken right back down to basics of one man and guitar and then repeat. Stunning.
How do you follow that in the encore, well with a shambolic but enjoyable version of ‘Throw my Mess’ and finally a superb ‘The General Specific’. Despite sound and voice problems another standout show from one of the best live bands out there.
Till the next time keep on rockin y’all