Jul 27, 2016

Band Of Horses @ Sydney Opera House

Band of Horses do a few things well but I would say their major strength is in the live arena. Both times I have seen them they have been a huge amount of fun. The first was nearly 10 years ago at the old Gaelic Club, riding off the back of their fantastic debut album. Sadly their latest albums haven't really hit the spot and I kinda lost some interest. But a night at the Sydney Opera House sparked my interest and so I duly bought tickets. Let's just say it was an interesting night.

Things started well, seemingly, as the band blasted into 'The Great Salt Lake'. But lead singer Ben Bridwell was having some issues. I thought at first it might have been the sound or something similar. But it turns out it was his voice. He said it sounded like a 'dumpster on fire' and he 'would get better'. But as they launched into 'Is There A Ghost' Ben was really struggling to hit the high notes. His voice is a beautiful weapon and every time he tried the high registers he just couldn't do it. You could see it was tearing him apart and as the night wore on it didn't improve and he slowly grew more frustrated with himself. The audience was mostly sympathetic and called out encouragement, but it was in the end a bit sad. To see an artist so full of hope tear himself apart. The band battled on and tried to play a full set but it was all a bit of a struggle. Finally they left the stage after about an hour to 'work things out. Ben and guitarist Tyler Ramsey returned for an acoustic version of 'No One's Gonna Love You' and even though Ben was still struggling the loving crowd sang along and it still felt a bit magical. The final song was a balls out cover CCR's 'Effigy' which roared with passion and energy.

So all in all a disappointing night, but ultimately I felt more sorry for the band and Ben especially. It must have been devastating for them and I think it just shows that life isn't always perfect and sometimes shit happens. Next time they tour I'm definitely going to be there for the full experience.

Set List
The Great Salt Lake
Is There A Ghost
Detlef Schrempf
In A Drawer
Throw My Mess
NW Apt.
Islands On The Coast
The First Song
For Annabelle
Country Teen
No One's Gonna Love You
The Funeral

Effigy (Creedence Clearwater Revival cover)

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