Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bumbershoot 2008: Band of Horses livens up main stage

Ben Bridwell is a craaaazy guy. And I love him for that.

The lead singer of former Seattle-based trio Band of Horses got the party going on the main stage yesterday, warming up a near-capacity Memorial Stadium for Beck. When he wasn't cracking fake (or were they fake?) beer bottles on the top of band mates' heads, he was shouting "whoo!" after each song and quite frankly, any time he felt like it.

"I love you. I'm just going to go ahead and say it. I love you. Let's make babies together", was how Bridwell chose to greet the crowd after the first song.

Another thing about Ben Bridwell, who interviewed with me last year, is that he's kinda sexy in person. The full beard and headband I can do without, but he looks great in a pair of jeans and his edgy hillbilly appearance is pretty hot. Bridwell also wore boots, navy blue sweater with plaid shirt underneath, and sunglasses. He later removed the sweater, causing a woman behind me to yell, "take it all off!". That said, he's also entertaining to watch live. He loves to have a good time, and for those around me that had never seen Band of Horses in concert before and were anxiously awaiting Beck, he won them over with his wild charm.

Band of Horses played songs from both albums, Everything All the Time and Cease to Begin, and if memory serves me correctly they also dug out a new track from a yet to be announced recording. They gave "The Great Salt Lake" a big finish and sounded amazing during "Is There a Ghost", ditto for a late set entry "The Funeral". And, I really liked the intensity of "Island on the Coast".

Creighton Barrett on drums and Rob Hampton on bass round out the actual Band of Horses lineup but touring musicians sit in for most, if not all, songs. Barrett's black and white-striped tank top was a good choice for the bulky dude. Hampton looked adorable, as is usually the case.

Three numbers really did it for me at last night's show. The first, a totally rocking version of "Wicked Gil" - exactly what I wanted to hear. I've listened to a slower rendition of this track, and was exceptionally glad they jazzed it up for Bumbershoot. It sounded incredible up front, as I was two rows away from the stage.

Another standout was a superb, gripping performance of "No One's Gonna Love You". I literally got goosebumps hearing it live, that's how good it was.

The third, and the most awesome moment during Band of Horses' set, was when a guy proposed to his girlfriend on the spot, and she said yes thankfully, and Bridwell dedicated "Marry Song" to them. Everyone clapped and cheered for the now-engaged couple.

By the way, Bridwell played guitar, keyboards, some wacky handheld percussion instrument, and a flutar (yes, a flutar!!!) throughout the evening. You gotta love this guy!

Band of Horses closed out their show with "Am I a Good Man", and they really won this large audience over - especially those seeing them for their first time ever. The girl next to me said, "I'm going to buy their CD tomorrow". And if I didn't already have it loaded on my iPod, I'd do the same thing.

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