Band of Horses: Live at The Troxy


In the midst of Storm Doris last night, Band of Horses braved the wild winds of East London and The Troxy in support of their latest album “Why Are You OK”. 

Band of Horses are five albums in to their career, so it’s probable you will know all about them, but for those who are not as well versed in their attractive blend of Indie-Americana (just made up that sub genre), here’s a brief run down of essential FACTS:

  • Band of Horses formed in 2004 and are based in Carolina (members from both Carolinas: South and North) led by Ben Bridwell.
  • Bridwell used to be in a band called Clarissa’s Wierd which was so weird they didn’t know how to spell “weird”. 
  • Bridwell used to be a drummer, but by his own admission he wasn’t very good. So he learned to play guitar so that he could be in a proper band. 
  • Originally called “Horses”, but the name was taken. It’s weird that two bands would try to use such a terrible name.
  • Not to dwell on the name too much, but the collective noun for horses is not a “band”.
  • Although they appeared on the Letterman show as early as 2006, Band of Horses came to particular prominence with their third album “Infinite Arms” in 2010 which was nominated for a Grammy.

Infinite Arms included takes on country music (the lovely “Older”, not in the setlist tonight), some more uptempo Americana (“Laredo” which was) and soaked up a few Fleet Foxes and Flaming Lips fans: (essentially bands that began with an F were a particular target for their close harmony singing).  

On record Band of Horses have changed things around and can sound mellow and (say it quietly) gentle. Live, they are a different prospect. 

The baseball-hatted Bridwell may have begun the evening seated, but he was soon cantering (if you’ll forgive the expression) around the stage, leading on an enthusiastic crowd, belting out a good number of upbeat tunes. Three of the first five songs were from 2016’s Why Are You OK, including opener Dull Times / The Moon, Solemn Oath and Casual Party. Band of Horses songs are spikier than on record, accentuating less the Americana side of their music and coming across far more indie. 

A Southern rock influence was evident on the slide guitar-driven “Throw My Mess” from the new album whilst the Americana did come to the fore in a lovely acoustic segment featuring Bridwell and guitarist Tyler Ramsey, which was strong enough to silence a chatty London audience. 

Perhaps a highlight, however, was a storming cover of Neil Young’s “Powderfinger” which was a proper band effort, solid guitar solos and all. Great stuff. 

“Funeral” from the debut album “Everything all The Time” was the first encore, an early indicator of the quality of the band, and the song aired on that Letterman show in 2006 which has lost none of it’s power. 

“The General Specific” finished things off nicely, the closest we’ll get to a hoedown in East London. 

They are an interesting band, are Band of Horses. The new album is excellent – a step up from its predecessor “Mirage Rock”, and they are a powerful live unit. 

Why Are You OK is out now. 

Set list

  • Dull Times/The Moon
  • Casual Party
  • Islands on the Coast
  • The Great Salt Lake
  • Solemn Oath
  • Laredo
  • Throw My Mess
  • Country Teen
  • The First Song
  • St Augustine
  • Evening Kitchen
  • Part One
  • Cigarettes, Wedding Bands
  • Powderfinger 
  • NW Apt.
  • No One’s Gonna Love You
  • In a Drawer
  • Is There a Ghost
  • The Funeral
  • The General Specific


Categories: Live Reviews

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2 replies

  1. I knew OF this band, but never much ABOUT them. Your post inspires me to check out more. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

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