Concert Review: Band Of Horses, December 5, Massey Hall

1x1.trans Concert Review: Band Of Horses, December 5, Massey Hall

You know, I’ve never fully understood why people go to a venue like Massey Hall only to stand throughout the show. There are seats. These seats are relatively comfortable. The sightlines are good while sitting. So why stand? I guess it’s just people in the rock show mentality. Not too big of a deal, but I imagine someone who went to the effort of securing a front row centre seat would be a bit miffed at an the influx of people who seemed to magically appear in front of the stage just as Band Of Horses began their set. Still, frontman Ben Bridwell seemed pretty happy to see all the people standing up front, eager and ready to be entertained.

On this evening, Band Of Horses seemed to be largely playing to a crowd of dedicated fans, preaching to the choir as it were. That said, I overheard someone on the way in to the show mentioning that she hadn’t given their new album Mirage Rock a listen yet and I have to admit I had only given it a cursory listen before the show. It’s still a solid album, full of a good deal of ’70s country rock influences, and one that I’ll certainly be investing some more time in, but the crowd definitely appreciated the bigger hits a bit more, with the set closing triumvirate of “Is There A Ghost,” “Ode To LRC,” and “The Funeral” getting a big response. For the encore, Bridwell and guitarist Tyler Ramsey returned to the stage for a harmony drenched acoustic rendition of “Evening Kitchen” followed by a similarly stripped down version of “No One’s Gonna Love You” before being joined by the rest of the band to close things off. For me though, the highlight of the set was a surprise cover of Neil Young’s “Powderfinger,” which Bridwell described as “paying tribute to the gods on hallowed ground.” You could tell from the looks on their faces that the band were totally enjoying themselves. Everyone loves a Neil Young cover. Fact.

Also offering up a decent set but to a somewhat sparser crowd was opener Jason Lytle. I’ve long been a fan of Lytle’s work, with Grandaddy’s 2000 release The Sophtware Slump being one of my all time favourite albums, and many of the songs off of his latest, Dept. Of Disappearance, seem to continue on in the same vain as many of the best Grandaddy songs. Playing with one other accompanist who mostly handled the bass, Lytle switched between keyboard and guitar, throwing in the odd synth flourish or sample to add a typical Lytle-esque touch here and there. In comparison to Band Of Horses fuller sound, it was a much more stripped down, low key set, but ultimately pretty satisfying. Now if only we could get a Grandaddy reunion show coming through Toronto …

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Posted on by Paul in Concerts
  • Horses

    Don’t be a schmucman. Its a fvking rock show. WHO SITS? LOL. Get a grip.