Music Reviews — 31 January 2014
Band of Horses Brings Acoustic Show to The McKittrick

Band of Horses

Citi Presents ‘Evenings with Legends
A LocalBozo.com Concert Review
The McKittrick Hotel, New York, NY
January 30, 2014

Concert Review: Band of Horses at The McKittrick Hotel

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Though the Seahawks are returning to the Super Bowl on Sunday, don’t expect Seattle’s Band of Horses to be glued to their television sets. The band made that much perfectly clear on Thursday evening in the most intimate of settings inside The McKittrick Hotel‘s diminutive space. Performing as part of the “Citi Presents ‘Evenings with Legends” series, the band performed a special acoustic set just days in advance of the release of ‘Acoustic At The Ryman,’ (February 11th) a ten song unplugged album recorded last year in Nashville. Performing in front of an avid New York City audience of Citicard holders, the group’s hour plus set explored a greatest hits version of their entire catalog and provided a glimpse of what fans can expect from a fun change of pace record.

In contrast to the previous night’s show, the cocktail tables that comprised much of the space inside the small room were removed in favor of a standing room only setting, allowing fans to creep dangerously close to the stage which stood just a foot or so off the ground. The band emerged shortly after 9:30pm, kicking off a thirteen song set with a beautifully harmonized rendition of “Neighbor” with just three of the bandmates and a piano. Band of Horses is best known for the vocals of frontman Ben Bridwell, who famously captivated a New York audience on stage beside Eddie Vedder at Madison Square Garden in 2010 handling the Chris Cornell portion of Temple of the Dog’s “Hunger Strike.” But together, they are remarkably cohesive- especially as up close and personal as they were with some two hundred fans packed into the room on this night.

While the tempos shifted some from song to song, the group exuded a definitive rockabilly style not entirely evident from their four studio albums to date. It was clear the mates were enjoying themselves on stage often playfully musing to the crowd about working their way through these songs as if performing them for the first time. But tracks like “Marry Song” and “St. Augustine” from their debut album- 2006′s “Everything All The Time” proved the band to be far too seasoned for them to ever take the stage unprepared. While a bit unpolished, the setting and the performance felt entirely special as the surrounding audience hollered toward the stage approvingly.

The A.A. Bondy cover of “The Mercy Wheel” served as an appropriate precursor to the inspired versions of “Laredo” and “Is There a Ghost” that would indirectly follow. But it was unreleased single “No One’s Gonna Love You” that truly brought the small assembled crowd alive. While Band of Horses elected not to encore, closing the show with “The General Specific” was a stroke of brilliance- giving the audience what they wanted, just when they wanted it. The catchy, upbeat tune which blends a little Neil Young and a little Black Crowes, perfectly captured the atmosphere inside of the space- equal parts exclusive and festive- almost like a show built for friends and families of the band that all collectively understood just how unique this experience would be. And to their credit, Band of Horses delivered the goods and then some.

- Jane Van Arsdale
Setlist

1. Neighbor
2. Compliments
3. Marry Song
4. Factory
5. The Mercy Wheel (A.A. Bondy Cover)
6. St. Augustine
7. Older
8. Laredo
9. Everything’s Gonna Be Undone
10. Weed Party
11. Is There a Ghost
12. No One’s Gonna Love You
13. The General Specific

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