Saturday, August 2, 2008

REVIEW: Band of Horses

Kings Arms
Thursday 31 July
Words by June Hart
Photos by Charlette Hannah

Ben Bridwell

Tyler Ramsey

Creighton Barrett

Ryan Monroe

Blake Mills

Bill Reynolds

If Band of Horses really were a band of horses, I reckon they'd be camargues, wild and beautiful, somehow magical and yet earthy. Band of Horses' ethereal rock manages to stay grounded and oh-so-human, even while taking us to incredible heights of musical ecstasy.

For their first ever New Zealand show, Band of Horses sold out the Kings Arms and rewarded their dedicated fans with a mind-blowingly excellent gig. Fans were begging for the set lists left scattered on the stage, and an encore was called for a long time before the band returned to the stage to play my personal favourite, No One's Gonna Love You.

The South Carolina based six piece band fuse reverb-heavy vocals, delayed guitar riffs, and solid grooving drums and bass to create an emotionally charged and fun live act. These guys really look like they love what they're doing, and the audience loves them even more for it.

The gorgeous melodies, soaring instrumentation, and pure unadulterated energy of Band of Horses really is inspiring. Ben Bridwell's voice haunts me in the best possible way.

Chicago based Kiwi Renee-Louise Carafice opened for Band of Horses with her thoughtful and solemn songs, mostly written while she was institutionalised for depression. Her voice is beautiful and full of texture. Her solo set switched between keyboard and guitar with a sequencer adding extra backing. The sadness can be somewhat hard to listen to, but there is so much humanity and hope that makes it all ok.

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