Band Of Horses Were Rusty, But Riveting at the Observatory

Band of Horses
The Observatory

On January 13th when the Grammy winning, indie-rock band announced they'd make a pit stop at OC's Observatory before heading off to Riviera May, Mexico, to perform at the festival One Big Holiday, they didn't think they would be facing a sold out show.

“Wow! We haven't played an electric show in so long. This is going to be loose, loose as diarrhea, let's have some fun” yelled Ben Bridwell, the band's founder, lead singer and guitarist who possesses a style similar to an early Neil Young. They jammed to “Electric Music” and baby blue wrist bands launched toward the ceiling as girls with wavy locks dragged their flannel wearing man totes throughout the crowd, bumping shoulders with anyone in their path to reach the dreamy Band of Horses.


Ryan Monroe (keyboard, guitar), Tyler Ramsey (lead guitar), Bill Reynolds (bass) and Creighton Barrett (drums), who accompanied Bridwell, are not the original members that that birthed Everything All The Time in 2004. But as the original group began to fizzle, Barrett was the first to join Bridwell performing the subsequent tour of the album. Before recording Cease to Begin in 2007, Bridwell decided to relocate from Seattle to his home state in North Carolina, where they'd begin to work with Monroe. Monroe joined the band to create Cease to Begin, produced by Phil Ek, that peaked at number 35 on Billboard charts. The band's first album that all five members equally contributed to was Infinite Arms, released in 2010 under Columbia Records, that later earned them a Grammy.

The following three years were radio silence, they did release a 2013 Rhyman Auditorium album of stripped-down, acoustic renditions but it wasn't until December of 2013 that the band released a new track, featuring Grandaddy, called “Hang an Ornament.” Far from their much loved reverb-laden vocals, tonight the fans beg for the old classics and crossed their fingers that the new album (which they plan to release later this year) will be more similar to the what fans have fallen in love with in the past.

Tonight, the band gave the crowd what they asked for, performing hits like “Knock Knock,” a song that was produced in 2012 by Glyn John–famous for producing the Rolling Stones and the Who–as Bridwell moved his tongue back in forth at Monroe in a seductive manner. They went on to perform “St. Augustine” and “The Great Salt Lake” as the stage shifted in color from green to blue hues.

Bridwell took a moment to catch his breath, staring out into the crowd. “Fuck you guys are awesome. Here's an old one.” They performed “Is There A Ghost” and later the iconic “The Funeral” again pausing to express gratitude and simultaneously apologize for their imperfect performance. “We're learning a lot tonight so thank you for that. I promise we'll be better for next time.”

While it was apparent the group was uncomfortable on the stage, if their biggest problem is keeping up with their fast tempos, hard hitting drums and complex driven vocal and guitar interludes then they're in decent shape. Those are signs that our beloved Band of Horses are just a little rusty. Another Grammy winning album on the way? They have the talent they just need to harvest it.

Set List
Electric Music
Knock Knock
St. Augustine
The Great Salt Lake
Is There A Ghost
Long Vows
How To Live
Evening Kitchen
The End's Not Near
Wicked Gil
Ode to LRC
The Funeral
No One's Gonna Love You
Cigarettes, Wedding Bands

The General Specific

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *