The Austin music scene through the eyes of a programmer/music enthusiast/show-goer

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Band of Horses: Yeehaw! (see 'Weed Party')

It's no secret that showgazer loves them some Band of Horses. So when BOH rolls into town showgazer is gonna be there front and center (or a little off to the side really). And when they choose to play our favorite venue, The Parish, that's just icing on the cake.

Openers The Can't See and Mt.Egypt were less than could be hoped for, but what're ya gonna do ... you're about to see BOH for the 3rd time this year. Quit complaining. I actually dug Mt.Egypt, which is basically the work of one dude (Travis Graves), who was backed by BOH's drummer and bass player. It was just a little too chill for me at the time when I was struggling to stay awake for the main event. I did find it amusing when between every song he'd say "Thanks dudes" while doing the hang-10 hand symbol.

But enough of the small talk. Let's jump to the main course. BOH rolled up to the stage being lead in by some dirty rap song and they were into it -- w/ singer Ben Bridwell throwin' his hands in the air (and he didn't care). They launched into 'Monsters', the first of what would be "every song we know how to play" (according to Bridwell) for the night.

(file photo) Guitarist Mat Brooke - Where am I?

It was at this point when I started to question where BOH co-founder and guitarist Mat Brooke was. You know, the tall, quiet one w/ lots of tats and the money beard. Did he quit the band? Is he just hungover from last night? Maybe he got sent up w/ Johnny Law. Wherever he was, he wasn't where he should be -- playin' guitar for my happy ass. So this troubled me the entire show as I realized he would not be gracing us with his presence. Later I saw this story in the Tuscon Weekly, which says:

"Although Brooke isn't performing with the group on their current tour (he recently opened a bar in Seattle), she says that Bridwell's stage presence more than makes up for it."
While I do dig on Bridwell's stage persona (which is quite humble/shy about the great songs he writes until it turns into fun/enthusiam), I can't say I completely agree with that statement because I enjoy Brooke's quiet, creepiness just as much. He's got a hell-of-a stage presence himself and his deeper, soothing backing vocals on the albums softer tracks show his true value. Cest la vie. As long as he continues to collaborate with Bridwell on the albums to come.

(file photo) Singer/Guitarist/Founder Ben Bridwell

After accepting the fact he wasn't coming out to play I set out for an enjoyable set. The band seemed to be enjoying themselves as well. Bridwell at one point quipped he was going to "make a baby" with the Austin crowd because we were much nicer to the band than the evil Houston crowd the night before.

The baby making songs included hits 'The Funeral' (of course) and my personal favorite 'The Great Salt Lake' (fyi: back of the boat = wrecking ball). They also did a cover of Hall & Oats' 'You Make My Dreams', which was helped out on by Mt.Egypt's Graves. They played a few new songs, including one Bridwell said was named after "NBA Legend Detlef Schrempf" just because the song "needed a name." It was not about basketball, but I like the nod to the former Mav. At one point Bridwell said, "We're going to play a different song we already played. No seriously." At that point they launched into a second version of 'Wicked Gil' (aka 'Bass Song'), which was a slower, more chill version from the albums, played earlier in the show. And I finally got a chance to see 'Weed Party' (yeehaw), which wasn't played at either show I'd seen them at before.

(file photo) Band at End Of An Ear in-store

While 90% of the crowd was there to see one song performed (hint: you go to it when people die), which was constantly yelled out for the duration of the show, it did provide some funny moments. After one jackass suggested they play it (like they weren't gonna get to it at the END of the set idiots), Bridwell said "No, this is NOT 'The Funeral'." Then his guitar strap unhooked itself causing him to almost drop his guitar. At that point he joked that "God smite me" for not fulfilling the request.

So other than Brooke not showing up, it was a great show. I do think that the two shows I caught of them at SXSW at Red Eyed Fly and the End Of An Ear in-store (which someone caught part of here) were better though (see Brooke's attendance). But I'll take 4/5ths of BOH over nothing any day. Plus I'll see the guys again in Chicago at the fork-fest in July. Maybe Brooke will make that trip (you better sucka). If not, I'll have The National / Spoon / Destroyer / Tapes 'n Tapes / The Walkmen to make up for it). Yayah.


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9:34 AM  
Blogger pedro velasquez said...

We were at Avast here in Seattle, where most of the new Band of Horses album Cease to Begin was recorded and mixed, sportsbook and left with a bit of time on his hands, singer/songwriter Ben Bridwell kept himself busy with a crossword puzzle. He burned through most of it in just a few minutes. And though I was trying to focus on the music I was hearing for the first time, it was hard not to notice that the kid I’d met years ago (as a member of Carissa’s Wierd and as the person putting out CW records through his Brown Records imprint), bet nfl and whose music I’d loved for so long, wasn’t just a great musician but also had a remarkable facility with words. And, of course, it made sense: he’s a talented lyricist. From the concisely conveyed sense of interconnection (and longing for it) in “Ode to LRC, sportsbook to the emotional complexity achieved through simple means in “Detlef Schrempf,” the new album is filled with examples. And the album’s opener, the soaring, athemic “Is There a Ghost” shows the band, together, at the height of their considerable powers.

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