Band of Hosers

ben bridwell band of horses chicago
Bridwell smokes during a song

Band of Horses, this is going to hurt me more than it’s going to hurt you.

You blew it. Stunk up the joint. Laid an egg.

I call them a personal favorite. When I saw Band of Horses perform in Memphis, I was proud to have introduced them to two friends for the first time – they were impressed and so was I. Naturally, I was excited to see them again, this time in Chicago at the Riviera, and again with a few first-timers. By the end, I was trying to make sense of what turned out to be a lackluster, uninspired performance. A complete 180 from what I have seen before.

The show started out nicely, with some accapella from one of the box seats to the right of the stage (see the video below). It was a nice touch and offered clean views of front man (and only original band member) Ben Bridwell – views that would quickly disappear once the sold-out crowd turned their attention to the stage and the back of their heads to anyone under six feet tall. But the views weren’t the problem here.

From the very beginning, I noticed a serious problem. Bridwell’s voice – and 98% of the reason to listen to Band of Horses – was struggling to be heard. There was a technical problem. Other times, he stopped playing his guitar mid-song, because of another issue with the sound. And, at times, it sounded like the entire band tuned their instruments in the dark, wearing earplugs. Then, there was Bridwell smoking on stage, in between lyrics. Not in between songs but individual lyrics. Tell me, how can you perform at a high level when inhaling and exhaling smoke using the best instrument on stage? It’s like intentionally switching off a guitar amp between chords. And that was my biggest problem with this show – it seemed that BOH was ready to get it over with as soon as it started. The set was hurried and the song list was jumbled. Most of the show came from their latest release, Infinite Arms, which, I must admit, is my least favorite to date. That record sounds lazy, too.

To their credit, BOH has been touring constantly over the past year or so. And normally, they put on an amazing live show. But it looks and sounds like it’s catching up to them. They look tired, bored and ready for some R&R. They need it.

But, the tour rolls on. Below the video, you will find more tour dates for 2010.


Oct 21 2010 7:00P Kool Haus Toronto, ON, CANADA
Oct 22 2010 7:00P Fillmore Detroit, MI
Oct 28 2010 7:00P Thomas Wolfe Auditorium Asheville, NC
Oct 29 2010 7:00P North Charleston Performing Arts Center Charleston, SC
Oct 30 2010 7:00P The Fox Theater Atlanta, Georgia
Jan 27 2011 7:00P Academy Glasgow, UNITED KINGDOM
Jan 28 2011 7:00P Academy 1 Birmingham, UNITED KINGDOM
Jan 30 2011 7:00P Academy Bristol, UNITED KINGDOM
Jan 31 2011 7:00P Academy 1 Leeds, UNITED KINGDOM
Feb 1 2011 7:00P Academy 1 Manchester, UNITED KINGDOM
Feb 3 2011 7:00P Brixton Academy London, UNITED KINGDOM
Feb 7 2011 8:00P Aula Magna Lisbon, LISBOA, PORTUGAL
Feb 8 2011 8:00P Heineken Madrid, SPAIN
Feb 11 2011 8:00P Estragon Bologna, Italy, ITALY
Feb 12 2011 7:00P Rota Fabrick Zurich, SWITZERLAND
Feb 13 2011 7:00P Backstage Werk Munich, GERMANY
Feb 15 2011 7:00P Live Music Hall Koln, GERMANY
Feb 16 2011 7:00P Uebel & Gefahrlich Hamburg, GERMANY
Feb 17 2011 7:00P Kesselhaus Berlin,
Feb 19 2011 7:00P Tap 1 Copenhagen, DENMARK
Feb 20 2011 7:30P Spectrum Club Oslo, NORWAY
Feb 21 2011 7:00P Annexet Stockholm, SWEDEN
Feb 23 2011 7:00P Paradiso Amsterdam, NETHERLANDS
Feb 24 2011 7:00P AB Belgium, BELGIUM
Feb 26 2011 7:00P La Cigalle Paris, FRANCE

3 Replies to “Band of Hosers”

  1. Yeah, the latest album was a huge disappointment IMO… Not their best effort… maybe they’re tired, I was sad no to be able to go to this show… but from the sounds of it, I didn’t miss anything… thanks for the review!

  2. lol, BB smoking between lyrics….one of the finest vocalist of all time chain smoked while performing, Frank Sinatra. Sure BB doesn’t pretend to be Sinatra, but his sincere and touching delivery makes the crowd feel like a best friend. Technical problems happen. Riviera production staff, Riviera stage manager or the road manager, who knows, it’s all part of rock n roll.

  3. Wow, this really sucks. We just discovered them about a year ago from a friend of ours who kept raving about them. The singer really does have a unique voice. It reminds me a lot of Nada Surf’s singer. Maybe they just had a bad night. I do listen to their stuff on my iPod often but I don’t believe I have their newest album that you say is as lazy as their show. Unfortunately, I don’t even know the names of the albums I have of theirs, but I listen to all of it because it’s REALLY good and it sticks in your head.


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