Concert Review: Band of Horses The Powerstation

By Jacqueline Smith

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Band of Horses. Photo / Supplied
Band of Horses. Photo / Supplied

There wasn't a better place to be on a miserable, damp Auckland eve.

While the soldout crowd was cosy enough, the real heart-warming came from the beautifully smooth vocals of Band of Horses herd leader Ben Bridwell.

The Seattle-based folk-rock outfit was in Auckland on their way home from Australia's Splendour in the Grass festival.

Scrawny, shaggy Bridwell emerged to front the five-piece looking a little bedraggled and perhaps overwhelmed. But after a serenading warm-up that began with 2007 release Detlef Shrempf, the Horses turned the space into the undulating atmospheric dreamland that has fans dabbing their eyes, then singing along, then getting all choked up again wherever they play.

They are a quirky bunch that look like they have stepped out of a caravan park, but Band of Horses songs have a nomadic, intelligent and compassionate air to them that seem to speak to people from all walks of life. A mixed bag of folk turned up to see them at the Powerstation - everyone from discerning professor-types to hyperactive blondes - and they all looked equally enamoured by the funny-looking bunch of bearded men.

Images of dramatic landscapes flicked away on the screen behind the stage as the band gently wove together almost all the songs the crowd could recite from their recent release Infinite Arms, as well as their first and second albums.

The band's profile has swelled recently - their inclusion on the latest Twilight soundtrack has almost certainly sparked the interest of a younger group of fans. But the roaring response to their epic earlier songs Great Salt Lake, No One's Going to Love You and Is There a Ghost suggested these fans had been with them from the beginning.

After a two-hour performance, Bridwell and guitarist Tyler Ramsay returned for an encore of Evening Kitchen, a lullaby harmonised so beautifully it seemed to split at the seams. And then came the final crowd pleaser, the infinitely popular single Funeral - which, even though it deals with a rather depressing theme, had the audience floating away wearing dreamy smiles.

- NZ Herald

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