Words by: Adam R. Harrison
Photography by: Adam R. Harrison
We The North received some southern hospitality Thursday night at the newly renovated Rebel Nightclub in Toronto when Band of Horses stopped by with their pleasantly unique blend of southern indie folk rock in promotion of their fifth studio album, Why Are You OK.
The quintet from Seattle led by front man Ben Bridwell, presented a 105-minute set that serenaded us one moment and had us on our toes the next. The band’s melodies and guitar tones sounded much more cognizant in a live setting and Bridwell’s vocals were as acute in pitch as expected making for an excellent display of live music.
Band of Horses opened with soft and easy pace, but once they were warmed up it was time to dance with them along to feel good hits like “Islands on the Coast” and “Casual Party.” Bridwell lost his hat numerous times in mid rock-out and made it impossible not to get infected with happiness when he flashed his toothy uneven grin.
We were then slowed right back down, hearts melting, for “No One’s Gonna Love You.” Bridwell’s vocals were so sincere you couldn’t help but have a tingle down your spine. He later joked, “I wrote that song about our relationship, Toronto.”
The set continued this way and peaked at the conclusion with “Cigarette, Wedding Bands” and Band of Horses’ epic anthem “The Funeral.” It’s already the perfect set wrapping song, but the band continued into an extended jam that elevated the crowd going into the encore break.
Band of Horses returned for a 3-song encore including the crowd pleasing, “Is There a Ghost.” Providing us with that last item off the must-hear checklist.
You never necessarily know what you’ll get with Band of Horses as they change the set list every night. What you can be assured of is a good time. The vibe around the venue Thursday night was highly pleasing. Everyone from couples, friends, relatives, and solo concertgoers came together for this evening of feel good live music. And if you didn’t leave happier than you left, then you weren’t at the same show the rest of us were.