Once again, KCRW delivered unique access in an informal setting to a world-class artist. This time around it was Band of Horses at Apogee Studios, following last month’s Regina Spektor show at the same venue. Really though, venue is not quite the right word. Apogee Studios, along Berkeley Street in Santa Monica is usually reserved for the recording of music. The narrow kitchenette, likely more accustomed to rock stars lazing about, was packed, shoulder to shoulder, with fortunate music fans. Why people instinctively gather in kitchens in social settings is a universal constant I have yet to accurately pin down.
I’d last seen South Carolina-based Band of Horses when they opened for Andrew Bird and The Decemberists at the Hollywood Bowl back in 2007. Their hits The Funeral and The Great Salt Lake made it into the repertoire this time around, but I was equally impressed by the track Everything’s Gonne Be Undone, from their most recent album Mirage Rock (2012).
Lead singer Ben Bridwell is one of those rare vocalists who sounds better live than recorded, where his wavering vocal pitch comes across with maximum impact. His immense talent is of the raw variety.
The show was split into two parts, with a (mostly) acoustic set opening the first half. Band of Horses have a country twang to their Indie rock sound, mixing in the occasional harmonic back-up blend. The honky-tonk stylings distinctly shone through in Everything’s Gonna Be Undone.
The interview between the two sets was punctuated with a personal look at the rise to musical prominence by Ben Bridwell and company, as well as news of an upcoming train-station tour with Willie Nelson, billed as the Railroad Revival Tour. Bridwell revealed himself time & again to be an authentic, humble artist stopping twice after KCRW DJ Jason Bentley asked him a question. Wow. -long pause- That was a good one.
I counted a total of 16 guitars on stage, swapped out here and there during the performance by a roadie, a needs arose.
Knock, Knock stood out during the second, electric set, also from Mirage Rock, proving the this particular Band of Horses have come a long way since 2006’s Everything All The Time.
This latest installment of KCRW’s Berkeley Street Sessions will air sometime in the not too distant future. Stay tuned for details…