Band of Horses @ Paradise 12.12.11

by Shea Geyer (Pharmacy), published January 5th 2012

I’m fairly certain the first time I heard “The Funeral” was during an episode of One Tree Hill back in 2006. The song captured my attention, so I memorized some of the lyrics, looked up the song and consequently discovered Band of Horses. I immediately added them to my list of bands that I must see live after hearing their other songs. I’ve been patiently waiting for them to stop in Boston and I’m happy to report that day finally came a couple weeks ago.

Band of Horses played a sold-out Monday night show at The Paradise, a small venue for such a big sound. They were very thankful though that they could still sell out small venues, given that they have been playing arena shows for most of their tour in support of 2010’s release of Infinite Arms.

The night started off with Band of Horses’ own Tyler Ramsey as the opener. This was the first time I’ve seen a band member open for their own band. It worked very well because Ramsey’s acoustic songs complimented the music that was to come later from Band of Horses. Ramsey had some technical difficulties and had to restart some of his songs, but he kept his cool and the crowd didn’t seem to mind at all. Ramsey concluded his set with “1000 Black Birds,” an ethereal composition that highlighted Ramsey’s beautiful harmonies and his capability to write poetic lyrics.

Band of Horses took the stage about 30 minutes after Ramsey departed, which had the crowd getting a little too antsy. Once they finally emerged from backstage though, Band of Horses did not disappoint. They opened with “NW Apt.” and powered straight through six songs, with maybe one or two very brief breaks to mention something to the crowd. They played an equal variety from their three albums, including “Is There a Ghost,” “The Great Salt Lake” and “Compliments.” The band also played songs that individually showcased each of the five members’ talents. They were all smiles and joked with each other on stage while playing, which made the entire audience want to join in.

After playing fifteen songs, Band of Horses left the stage for a short while, leaving the crowd pleading for more. We did get more for the encore—two songs more. The encore began with the cute slow ballad “Part One” and concluded with the ever powerful, always painstaking beautiful “The Funeral.” As soon as the crowd heard the first few chords, cheers erupted throughout the venue and singing along ensued. The encore proved a bit disappointing because many people, myself included, were expecting to hear “Blue Beard,” but we never did. Once the encore finished and the band bid everyone a goodnight, I left The Paradise in a very happy mood because a) Band of Horses sounded even better live than on their amazing albums and b) Band of Horses was my 50th concert and ended up being my all-time favorite.

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