Taking our own advice we get there early for the excellent support of Israel Nash. It’s just an acoustic guitar and pedal steel for this short taster set for those who don’t know him. It works really well and arguably highlighted the songs and his superb falsetto voice better than the full band show from last year.
Next up is Band of Horses. Confession time. These are in my top three favourite contemporary bands so this review is somewhat biased. But in summary they f@ckin rocked. To describe BoH as purely a country rock band is doing them a massive disservice. Every time I have seen them they have offered the lighter contrast of an acoustic segment be it lead singer Ben Bridwell on his own on stage, up in the circle at the Hammersmith Odeon or by turning a Lollapalooza set in 09 into an intimate club gig. Tonight’s acoustic section is Bridwell, joined by guitarist Tyler Ramsey, and on mandolin Ryan Monroe surrounding a single mic ‘bluegrass’ style. Beautiful stuff.
Band of Horses are five albums into their career and they already have probably a dozen stone wall classic songs and to my delight they perform most of them tonight along with some assorted cuts from their new album ‘Why are you OK’ neatly skipping tracks from the below par Mirage Rock.
Bridwell advises the audience that the evening has not got off to a great night after severely cutting his finger and treading in shit, possibly human outside the venue (welcome to East London). Bleeding all night on guitars, jeans and towels he doesn’t let it affect his performance and he leads the band through a storming set.
Highlights too many to mention. ‘Laredo’ is a great singalong as is ‘NW Apartment’ and the encore of ‘Funeral’ and ‘General Specific’ ensures the pace doesn’t let up and there’s even time for a spot of Powderfinger’ for good measure.
It will take a lot to beat this from a purely rock concert perspective and joins Mandolin Orange as my favourite gig of the year so far of the ten I have been to
A great rocking night and keep on country rockin y’all