Sunday, 22 January 2012

Band of Banjo Playing Horses

Well all the travelling through time and space aside I almost lived up to the challenge I set myself last January to get to at least one gig every month throughout the year. I didn't manage it each and every month but with some months including two gigs and the Beautiful Days festival in August I'm happy with the achievement.

1.)  Kicking the year off in tremendous style were the formidable Band of Horses. Undoubtedly one of many bands from Seattle that seem to possess something special although quite what it is the musicians from this city have is unknown (perhaps something akin to the ‘Pick of Destiny’ from Tenacious D? Or could it be the rain in Seattle is actually some kind of magical music dust that inspires such greatness?).

Amazing doesn't come close to describing their performance at Birmingham's O2 Academy. Like many bands I become a fan of, I saw them first the previous year on BBC2’s Later with Jools. The venue was totally packed so I couldn't make it near the front like I prefer to but it didn't matter too much because Ben Bridwell's vocals poured inside my ears inducing a feeling of standing right beside him onstage. 

This is precisely what I wanted to do even just to check out his incredibly spiffing beard. In between songs when I had a few moments to compose my own thoughts I found myself contemplating whether or not I could pull off a full beard like his (I have thus far been unsuccessful as I tend to resemble a tramp if I let it grow uncontrollably). Then I’d gladly get lost amidst the harmonious melodies of the next song forgetting my feet were actually on the ground. 

Yes floating effortlessly on a cloud listening to angels play these songs on harpsichords is how I’d describe myself feeling by the end of favourites like The Funeral, Is There a Ghost and The Great Salt Lake. Then it struck me! Like the angels had led me to an epiphany. Most of these musicians from Seattle do have very spiffing if sometimes wild beards. Perhaps there’s something in Seattle with which they can cultivate these beards. No ordinary beards are these. No, these are beards with muse like qualities. 

Anyway, I digress again (you were warned). If you’ve not heard of this band before what is the matter with you? Buy one of their albums now!! You won’t regret it. All three albums are superb and I’m unable to pick one out as a favourite so why not buy all three! Then please beat yourself with a stick until it really hurts for not already having them. 

The name Band of Horses is an engaging concept don't you think? It conjures up a band of actual horses in my crazy mind. Admittedly their hooves are not exactly conducive to strumming stringed instruments but I'm sure they can improvise. There's always a way as they say (who they are I do not know, the cat's mother perhaps? Valerie the banjo playing badger? Who knows? Answers on a post card please to PO BOX 99 but please don't phone it's just for fun!). If improvisation fails they still have woodwind and other such instruments they can play using their mouths. Let us also not forget they could quite easily play one of those large pianos you find on mats (I'm sure these exist but for kids). 

The Funeral:

Cigarettes, Wedding Bands:

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