Thursday, October 14, 2010

Concert Review | Band of Horses at the Pageant in Saint Louis

Photo Credit: Philip Andelman
  A good friend of mine once told me to not have any expectations before a concert. A great concert, he said, isn't weeks in the making for the fan. A great concert should just happen in the moment it's presented, not in your head days before the show, dreaming about what the songs might sound like live, or what the band or artist might choose to play.

My friend also told me that, more times than not, you won't get to see something wonderful, something that will affect your life. Of course, that's why you go, why you pay a great amount of money - to take a chance and live in the moment to find greatness. But, it doesn't always happen.

It took me a long time to understand this. I always want live music to change me, to make me feel like I'm alive in a world in which I want to fully participate. I want to feel like Andy Dufrense in The Shawshank Redemption, breaking out of prison, throwing up my hands, enjoying freedom in the pouring rain.

Wednesday at The Pageant wasn't one of those nights for me.

That's not to say Band of Horses didn't deliver - Ben Bridwell sounded feisty on "The Funeral," "The Great Salt Lake," "Ode to LRC," and "The General Specific." The tunes from their latest album, Infinite Arms, especially "Laredo" and "NW Apt.," were fabulous. Whenever Ryan Monroe picked up a guitar, he looked like the happiest dude on the planet. The show closer, "Is There a Ghost," probably did damage to my hearing. The show was loud and engaging, at times.

But damn, there was something missing.

Every time I thought the show was about to take off and find a new level, it took a few steps back. Too many mid-tempo chill moments paired together, perhaps. Normally, I wouldn't mind this - I'm the guy who likes sad songs, harmony, and cruel reality when it comes to music. But as beautiful as "Marry Song" and "No One's Gonna Love You" are as studio songs, they didn't quite compare with a live rocker like the aforementioned "NW Apt.," which was delivered early in the set. I'll be honest, I wanted more of that.

But so what if my life didn't change. I still live for live music. I'll still keep attending concerts at a furious pace. And I'll still listen to Band of Horses. No one's gonna believe that more than I do.

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