Camden is blazing tonight. North London’s former hotbed of indie domination is on fire (not literally, Hawley fans), for not only are New York’s finest currently ripping it up down in Dingwalls, but here at The Roundhouse, South Carolina’s bearded heroes are clutching our hearts in their sweaty fists.
While The Strokes are providing strutting nuggets of incendiary rock, Band Of Horses cater more for the soul – their winsome and poignant country rock (how I detest that term) finding its place in the humid summer evening.
As the audience amble in to the circular venue, the PA is booming with The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers – a perfect introduction to the night’s preceedings – two country bands similarly infused by soul music and America’s cultural heritage. Odd, then, that as the lights go out, it is the strains of Phil Collins’ ‘In The Air Tonight’ that ushers the Horses onto the stage – but only when the drums kick in, of course. Great dramatic effect, admittedly, but by God, that song…
‘Am I A Good Man’ introduces the sweeping anthemic nature of Band Of Horses – their leader, Ben Bridwell stalks the stage in its middle, introducing each of his Horses nice and early.
Three albums into their career, Bridwell and co. are in a fortunate position whereby each release has seen their popularity ascend, and the embracing of every song – indeed, tonight there is little difference between the reactions of each song; there is as much cheering for first album favourites as there are from album tracks of the newly released ‘Infinite Arms’. With a thoroughly appreciative crowd, it’s obvious Band Of Horses are revelling in what, by all accounts, is their largest solo indoor show to date.
They have the ability to compel in full throttle mode – as demonstrated on new songs like ‘Older’ and ‘Northwest Apartment’ – but are hugely endearing when at their most impassioned, particularly in the emotive ‘Blue Beard’ and ‘Monsters’, but most especially in their encore, when only Ben and guitarist Tyler Ramsey return for a gorgeous acoustic duet on ‘Evening Kitchen’.
Ultimately, of course, it’s their biggest hit which proves to be evening’s favourite. ‘Funeral’ is executed with the bombast and surging power it deserves, the crowd enthralled and echoing its chorus.
This is a band best enjoyed when you most need bliss. This band could save your life. Camden, consider yourself atoned.
Words by Simon Harper
Photo by Nickie Divine
Am I A Good Man (Them Too cover)
Cigarettes, Wedding Bands
Islands On The Coast
Great salt lake
Is There A Ghost
No One’s Gonna Love You
The First Song
Ode To LRC
On My Way Back Home/Neighbor
View an accompanying photo gallery from Band Of Horses’ gig at London’s Roundhouse on 9th June 2010 HERE.