Review: Band of Horses
Band of Horses frontman Ben Bridwell reckons his band are playing some of the best shows of their lives at the moment, and after an almost cinematic performance at Auckland's Powerstation last night, it would be hard to find anyone to completely disagree.
The Seattle band have had their fair share of practice - with four albums and a decade on the road tucked under their belts - and from the urgency of opener, Ode to LCR, they proved practice does indeed make perfect. Almost.
Once upon a time, Band of Horses were known as beardy, check shirt-wearing country hipsters. These days the beard ratio on stage is about 3:2 (offstage it seemed a little higher), and there are no lumberjack outfits to be seen.
But there was still a glorious mix of that alt-country twang and the epic, melodic power that fans adore about this band.
And the five-piece certainly shine more than they fade with rollicking tracks like Is There A Ghost, Knock, Knock from new album Mirage Rock, and NW Apt, which kept the excited energy at a peak for more than two hours and 20 songs last night.
Yes, at times the pace slowed to a meander, rather than the canter many of the fans were clearly gagging for, with a particular patch at the midway point that caused attention to wander. However, it was two of the quieter moments that proved the truly mesmerising.
As the first notes of The Funeral (the song outsiders use to pinpoint what Band of Horses do) rang out, the chatter stopped and the cheering subsided. The only things that could be heard were Bidwell's lyrics, the plucking of the guitar, the whirring of the air conditioning and a wave of "shh's" from the reverent audience.
It was special, as was the chance to witness the abundance of man cuddles in the crowd during No One's Going To Love You, performed virtually acoustically.
This is a band that have wowed audiences around the world and filled some of the most iconic venues while doing it. And even in the few years since they last performed for their Kiwi fans, it's obvious Band of Horses have stepped it up a notch.
It's starting to become clear, there is no stopping them now.
Band of Horses
WHEN: January 16
WHERE: Powerstation, Auckland