Amongst the dreamy spires and the hustle and bustle of Oxford nightlife arrive Band of Horses from Seattle. Ben Bridwell lead vocalist and guitar player storms in on new song “Hard Times” and the band instantly warm up the receptive crowd. The venue is just about the right size to feel intimate and the atmosphere within these four walls is an indication of what is to come. Dreamy Psychedelic pop/rock is a small way to describe Band of Horses musical landscapes but they can also rock out when they need to. On the reverberating and chiming “Islands in the Coast” there is a definite shift in gear which has the audience swaying in unison. “No one’s gonna love you” is another standout in their repertoire and is now a firm favourite in their set list.
Ryan Moore on keyboards displayed a subtle array of skills and Creighton Barrett is a much underated drummer and along with Ben Bridwell are the only surviving members in an ever changing line-up but with new members Matt Gentling on bass and Ian MacDougall on guitar have instilled a new lease of life and freshness that was truly apparent on tonight’s performance. “The Funeral” and “Marry Song” maintained the flow and kept the momentum flowing throughout.
The Band of Horses journey has not always been a marriage made in heaven but if this current union can stabilise and continue and reach out to an audience as they did in Oxford tonight then the story has a long way to go.
A special mention to support band Lion.
Reviewed by Sacha Sweetling.
Photography by Tony Bartolo – tonybartolo.co.uk