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I’m just going to say it. I enjoyed myself more at Saturday night’s Band of Horses show than Tuesday’s The Go! Team show.

Maybe I’m crazy or maybe it was the cold meds I was on Tuesday night, but regardless, I couldn’t have been more pleased with a) the set list from Band of Horses
b) Ben Bridwell’s interaction with the crowd and
c) the crowd’s response to the band.

The show didn’t manage to sell out, but judging from the swell of the crowd, it seemed pretty close. Doors didn’t open till 11:30, with Band of Horses finally hitting the stage at about 1:15 a.m., making it for a great late night romp and one I didn’t regret the next day.

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Ended up missing the first opener, Tyler Ramsey, whom I can’t imagine was any worse than The Drones, an Australian rock band both aptly named and self-indulgent. I don’t think I could have been any more excited for an opener to exit the stage. The Drones would be the opposite of the coveted sassy as fuck title, however, since I’m such a sweetheart, I’ll say something nice about them – bassist Fiona Kitschin was wearing some hot boots that I would totally covet. Otherwise, I had no clue what they were going for other than masturbatory guitar solos and managing to leave the crowd completely motionless. If that was the goal, consider the mission accomplished.

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Bridwell began the set seated at the keyboard, telling the crowd they’d slowly work their way into the set, but BoH managed to play great mix of their two albums, with Cease to Begin’s first single “Is There a Ghost” and “Great Salt Lake” off Everything All the Time within the first five songs. It just seemed like everything worked and Bridwell’s voice was as mesmerizing as ever.

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More off the new album like “No One’s Gonna to Love You” and “The General Specific” eventually gave way to a stage washed in red and “The Funeral,” just a couple songs before the encore. Cue the camera phones and lighters. Yes, people actually brought out lighters.

Part of what makes Band of Horses so loved and hated falls to those calling the band sell-outs and the sheer number of curious onlookers they happen to attract. Named the “hot band” of 2007, just this month by Rolling Stone, Band of Horses’ following has grown and obviously, so has their bank account, thanks to their partnership with Microsoft’s Zune (you know, that failure of a response to the iPod).

There’s that infamous incident where Bridwell chidied fans with camera phones, during “The Funeral,” but he managed to play nice all night, calling the 9:30 crowd “really nice,” thanking them frequently between songs.

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I recently described “Cease to Begin” to someone as pretty good, but nothing that had completely blown me away, but I think seeing it all live has bumped up the album in the ranks a bit, definitely promoted from just an album I listen to at work to keep people from attempting to talk to me.

(all photos: Christopher Wilson via Band of Horses touring blog)

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