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Month: October 2012

Recap: Band of Horses at the Marquee Theater in Tempe

It was starting to feel like Band of Horses may never actually make it back to Phoenix. Last year, they were scheduled to open for Kings of Leon at Ashley Home Store Pavilion, but that got axed. Then this year, they were scheduled to play downtown Tempe as part of the second installment of the Railroad Revival Tour with Willie Nelson, Jamey Johnson, and actor/musician John C. Reilly, but that fell apart a few weeks prior to the October 26th date.

Luckily, Band of Horses wasted no time and promptly booked gigs in the cancelled tour towns, including an October 26th stop at the Marquee Theater in Tempe. For fans like me, it was a big win, now getting a full headlining gig versus an abbreviated festival-like set.

And so deliver they did, playing a roughly two hour set for (what had to be) a sold out crowd – the set list drawing from all four studio albums. In fact, at the end of the night, only four songs showed up from their latest release, Mirage Rock.

Some friends and I got to spend about fifteen minutes chatting with lead singer Ben Bridwell after the show, and he talked about the fun they’re having with these last minute headlining dates. They’re giving themselves the freedom to relax, have some fun, and play outside of the box a little.

It showed with the 23-song set list that included a couple of rarely seen covers: keyboardist/guitarist Ryan Monroe took to the organ for “Ain’t No Good To Cry,” a late 60’s tune by Hour Glass – the L.A. band that Gregg and Duane Allman were a part of before forming the Allman Brothers Band. How’s that for obscure? (Thanks to Ryan Monroe for the Twitter reply confirming the song name). The other cover was the encore finale, an old deep soul track called “Am I A Good Man?”, originally by a group called Them Two. They’ve pulled that one out quite a bit in the past.

We got a song premiere too, “A Little Biblical” from Mirage Rock, a tune they had never performed live.

But by and large, the band delivered lots of familiar Band of Horses favorites:

  • The night opener, “The First Song,” with Ben sitting down with this pedal steel.
  • “Marry Song,” with Ryan and Ben synched up perfectly with that gorgeous harmony.
  • “No One’s Gonna Love You,” a night highlight, with only Tyler Ramsey on guitar and Ben on vocals – a very intimate few minutes and clearly a crowd favorite.
  • Another slow burning highlight: “Detlef Schrempf,” where Ben came down to the crowd to share the mic during the chorus, letting crowd members sing “My eyes can’t look at you any other way…”- and by the way, I asked Ben after the show if former NBA star Detlef Schrempf knows there’s a song named after him. The answer is yes – Detlef and Ben keep still keep in touch, and try to hang out when Ben stops through Seattle.
  • “The Funeral” was the regular set closer, and since Ben’s amp blew out during the prior tune, it didn’t feature the familiar guitar riff from his Les Paul Standard. Instead, Ryan worked the riff on the organ. They may have stumbled on something there… very cool to see an oft-played tune done in a different style.

Just an amazing night overall – for the super fans like me on down. And to be able to chat it up with Ben after the show was the icing on the cake – such a genuinely nice guy.

Back in October 2008, on the morning after their Austin City Limits Festival set, I saw Ben in the Austin airport, so I went up and said hi. When I mentioned that encounter last night, unbelievably to me, he remembered meeting me on that bleary-eyed morning. So naturally, I asked him to reenact the photo we took in the airport. Kudos to Ben for removing his ball cap to style his hair a la 2008…

2012

2008

Ben promised the crowd that it wouldn’t take so long for the band to make it back to the Phoenix area. From what I can find, the last time they were in Phoenix was a June 2006 stop at the Rhythm Room. That is a long time.

Here’s hopin’ and beggin’ and prayin’ they stop through again soon. Special band. Special night.

Band of Horses Web Site

Band of Horses on Amazon

Set List

Marquee Theater
Tempe, AZ
Oct 26, 2012

The First Song
Laredo
Great Salt Lake
Islands on the Coast
NW Apartment
Electric Music
Ain’t No Good To Cry (Hour Glass cover)
Blue Beard
Cigarettes Wedding Bands
On My Way Back Home
Marry Song
Everything’s Gonna Be Undone
Older
Knock Knock
A Little Biblical
No One’s Gonna Love You
Is There a Ghost
Weed Party
Ode to LRC
The Funeral

~ Encore ~
The General Specific
Detlef Schrempf
Am I A Good Man? (Them Two cover)

** Thanks to Nicole LaRochelle for some of the photos above.

Christopher Owens announces ‘Lysandre’

Christopher Owens, the heart, mind, body and soul behind San Francisco’s Girls, decided to leave (and effectively disssolve) the group back in July with an announcement on Twitter (One, Two, and Three).

Thankfully, the creative juices are still flowing, and he’s been busy in L.A. recording his first solo album. The word is now out that Chris will be releasing Lysandre on January 15th, 2013 on the Fat Possum label.

There’s a really nice piece here on Fader where Chris talks about the backstory behind Lysandre. In a nutshell, Lysandre is a French girl he met on Girls’ first tour back in 2008 (supporting their debut, Album). A long distance romance evolved and eventually ended. The album tells the story of the journey.

I feel like this is the most focused effort I’ve ever made musically; telling a story from one song to the next in order of occurrence, making the album almost like one long song. A little bit like a musical. I’m very proud of it and happy it worked so well. I’m pleased to be able to share it with the world; its story, its music, its universal and classic themes. It’s a coming of age story, a road trip story, a love story. It’s a moment in time that has been captured and brought to life through art. For you, for me, for us. For what it’s worth. – Christopher Owens

I am so locked into this guy and the music he makes, so count me among those who are very excited about this new record. The first two tracks have been offered up on Soundcloud: “Lysandre’s Theme” (a short instrumental intro) and “Here We Go,” featuring soft acoustic guitar, flute, fuzzed out electric… Time for another listen.

Here’s the track listing for Lysandre. Pre-Order the album here.

1: Lysandre’s Theme
2: Here We Go
3: New York City
4: A Broken Heart
5: Here We Go Again
6: Riviera Rock
7: Love Is In The Ear Of The Listener
8: Lysandre
9: Everywhere You Knew
10: Closing Theme
11: Part Of Me (Lysandre’s Epilogue)

Keep up with all things Christopher on his web site, his Facebook, and Twitter.

New Titus Andronicus: ‘Local Business’

High expectations – they’re dangerous.

I first heard Titus Andronicus on a jog around the neighborhood in March 2011, a few months after they released their 2nd full length, The Monitor. Halfway through the opener, “A More Perfect Union,” I was all systems go, hair standing on end. It was exhilarating (as was their live show a month later). The album was rich with imagery, rage, a continuity and flow from song to song, an abundance of fist-to-the-air-moments, and a full production sound.

So maybe I can be partly blamed for the high expectations I brought to the table today when I tapped “Play” on T.A.’s new release, Local Business. I strapped on the earbuds and the running shoes and embarked on that familiar jog around the neighborhood, ready for that feeling, that Red Bull-will-give-you-Wings rush that music can provide…

Wasn’t happening.

Granted, the opening trio of songs – “Ecce Homo,” “Still Life With Hot Deuce on Silver Platter,” and “Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape With Flood of Detritus” – are solid rockers with that familiar angst and anger, a specialty of frontman Patrick Stickles. They’re good, and they very well may grow on me, but where The Monitor had that epic, fulfilling feel to it, Local Business has a garage-y, rushed quality to it.  And, a lot like the (disappointing) album cover, the record’s production sound seems a lot more Do It Yourself and lower quality than the two previous releases.

I know it’s not really fair of me to rush to the web on the first day of its release to spit out my less than favorable judgment. But dammit, I was expecting more! They captured lightning in a bottle on The Monitor, and I know Stickles has it in him to go to that level again. On first listen, Local Business doesn’t come close.

→ Local Business on Amazon.

→ Titus Andronicus Web Site

Here’s “Still Life with Hot Deuce on Silver Platter” at Shayz Lounge in Brooklyn. See all Local Business Sessions at locations around Brooklyn here on Pitchfork.