Band of Horses
Three fine bands, one bitterly cold night in Birmingham, Mrs HC and I together with Mr & Mrs IDS. Truth be told I couldn’t quite believe my luck that BoH were back on these shores so soon after their last visits and this time accompanied by the splendid Goldheart Assembly (who I had failed so far to see and whose early Youtube vid now looks rather quaint) and Mojave 3 who, to my shame, I thought had slid into oblivion.
Goldheart Assembly were first on at a grim 6.45 start (largely because the pride of Birmingham’s yoof were due in at 10.30 for the Friday club night… mmm, nice) but still had a decent sized and enthusiastic crowd. Despite their tender years and shortness of time together they have already produced a fine album, Wolves and Thieves (which inexplicably I failed to review last year). On stage they already have a comfortable bonhomie between songs and a general air of having a good time. Live, the harmonies that pepper the recorded songs are spot on and the songs have more of an edge than they do on record. I am not alone in thinking that if they carry on in this vein these young chaps have a good future ahead. Certainly I for one will be sliding along to the next headline gig of theirs that I can get to. A scant 30 minutes later and they were gone having set the tone and the bar for the evening.
I first fell in love with Mojave 3 when I chanced across their second album, Excuses forTravellers, in 2000. Neil Halstead has a beguiling voice, and the songs follow the time honoured route of telling stories and painting pictures. Despite their Americana leanings they are a UK product and indeed sprang from the ashes of shoegaze band, Slowdive when that dissolve back in the mid 90’s. The last album Puzzles Like You from 2006 is unknown to me (but I will catch up) and although solo work has been forthcoming Mojave 3 were thought to be on hiatus. Well perhaps with luck this signals a return, certainly if those around me were typical they will have gained new admirers last night. The sound was excellent and the material of sparkling quality, and bless their souls they ended their al too brief set with a personal favourite, My Life in Art. Lets hope that Mr Halstead et al get back in the groove, so to speak – brilliant.
Tonight was , I think, my fifth BoH outing and each time I am surprised a-new how different they are to the recorded songs, how they, well…rock. Indeed it is on their account that I now have some excellent Alpine ear plugs precisely for shows like these. The other thing about BoH is how they all seem to have a damned good time on stage, its all rather wearying to have a good band stand their in earnest seriousness, no such problems with BoH.
Sadly I can’t recall the set list in perfect order but no matter, it was a grand mix of material across all three albums including Ode to the LRC, Detlef Schrempf, Is There a Ghost, Island on the Coast, Great Salt Lake, Monsters, the mighty Funeral, Laredo, NW Apt… oh you get the picture. Each night they do a cover of something they haven’t played before, the “Du Jour of the Day” as Ben Bridwell puts it. Tonight a splendid Neil Young cover (update – twas Powderfinger and a little Youtube vid can be found here with a sneaky back of head cameo of yours truly down the front :)).
As usual my pictures are a bit rubbish but the inestimable IDS has some of his featured in this post (thank you sir) the rest can be seen on his Flickr page and some professional ones (with the appropriate copyrights and all) can be seen firstly by Danny from Concerts Captured and also some really rather good ones by the talented Jodi Cunningham