Band of Horses

SXSW showcase reviews

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Photo by Sandy Carson

Band of Horses

Central Presbyterian Church, Friday, March 19

After conquering Stubb's the night before, Band of Horses corralled into the more intimate and sonically honed Central Presbyterian Church, perfect sanctuary for Ben Bridwell's slow-rising, ethereally echoed vocals and the quintet's galloping guitar jams. Opening with the title track from their upcoming May release, Infinite Arms, the new tunes only slightly diverged from the proven formula of their first two albums. "Compliments" slid into a Laurel Canyon slant, and "Laredo" offered a bit more edge, but the only real surprise in sound was keyboardist Ryan Monroe's complete country turn with "Older." Yet the band's broiling chime surged sublime across the pews, "Ode to LRC" catapulted by Bridwell's ambivalent wail of "The world is such a wonderful place," and the balance of lulling float and dramatic crash of "The Funeral" brought the crowd to their feet by the fifth song. The boom and blister of "The Great Salt Lake" felt somewhat rushed, as did "No One's Gonna Love You," neither allowing Bridwell to sufficiently draw out the moment before the crush of guitar pummeled forth. Yet slow-burning Southern anthem "Marry Song" was given more room to breath, with Tyler Ramsey's lap steel setting the stage for the closing sing-along stomp of "The General Specific."

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