A group of musicians called Band of Horses made their way to the Joy Theater this past Friday with Joshua James. Band of Horses is from Seattle, but is now based in Charleston, South Carolina. The band was formed by chief singer/songwriter Ben Bridwell in 2004 and has gained critical acclaim with the release of five albums, their third being grammy-nominated for Best Alternative Album. Bridwell didn't find a solid backing band until 2007, when they finally stayed together to record three albums. Following the release of their newest record Infinite Arms, the band saw two departures in 2017. Long time guitar player and vocalist Tim Ramsey, as well as bassist Bill Reynolds, left the group less than a month before their show here in NOLA.
Band of Horses is widely received as one of the more successful indie bands out there, but after seeing them live, they are clearly more of a country band, and it makes so much sense. Their music has a delicateness that one finds with indie bands, but also the powerful, upbeat nature of post-punk. However, the root of their sound is one with the cowboy way of life. Right down to dawning ten-gallon-hats, blue jeans, and cowboys boots on stage, Band of Horses has an undeniable country charm.
At 10pm, BOH started their set with “Monsters,” a docile number from their first album Everything All The Time. The setlist continued with their more tranquil songs, really touching on that country element of the music, before proceeding gradually into louder tracks toward the latter half of the evening. They played music from all their releases, making sure to include their most beloved songs like “The Great Salt Lake,” “Is There a Ghost,” and “No One’s Gonna Love You.” Bridwell alternates between playing the electric guitar and the lap steel while reproducing his angelic vocals flawlessly. His voice cuts through the twang and gives an eerie lonesomeness to the lyrics. The rest of the band kept it tight, and seemed to have a ding dang of a hoe-down, even with the new additions on guitar and bass. They saved their most famous tune for last, “The Funeral” from their first record, which is when all the smart phones came out. They left the crowd wanting more, and obliged with the final track of the evening, “The General Specific” from Cease to Begin. Next time Band of Horses gallops into town, remember to bring your hat and boots.