Band of Horses @ The Fillmore Silver Spring – January 17th 2024
Band of Horses @ The Fillmore Silver Spring – January 17th 2024

Live Review: Band of Horses @ The Fillmore Silver Spring – January 30th 2024

Band of Horses has been playing their unique brand of dreamy, but often intense southern indie rock for nearly two decades now. Frontman and founding member Ben Bridwell has led the band through several iterations in that time, recording a total of six studio albums so far. The band had been scheduled to play at The Fillmore Silver Spring last October for what would have been their first headlining appearance in the Washington DC area since the pandemic, but illness had forced them to postpone at the last minute. The make-up date for that show finally occurred last Tuesday, as part of their current An Evening With Band of Horses tour, in which they split the performance into two sets, acoustic and electric. Opening for themselves, as they put it.

The evening started with Bridwell alone, guitar in hand, doing a solo rendition of “St. Augustine,” the closer of the band’s first album Everything All the Time. He was then joined by multi-instrumentalist Ryan Monroe on mandolin and guitarist Brett Nash for a trio rendition of “Part One” from the same record, before bassist Matt Gentling and drummer Creighton Barrett came on to complete the line-up. While for some bands an acoustic set may be a one-off thing done for a single tour and forgotten, Band of Horses have become known for their acoustic performances over the years (even releasing a pair of acoustic live records from their performance at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville in 2013), and many of their songs feel right at home in the format. This set was no exception, with powerful versions of tracks ranging from “No One’s Gonna Love You,” one of their most well-known songs, to the recent “In Need of Repair” which is arguably one of the most rocking outings on their 2022 album Things Are Great.

Maybe it’s because Things Are Great was released nearly two years ago now that the band concentrated most of their set on their first three albums. Fans hoping for a glimpse of what’s next may have been disappointed by the lack of any new material, but for those who wanted to hear what have already become classics of the genre (everyone in the room, judging by reactions), the night was packed full. After a long intermission during which the entire stage was changed over, the band re-emerged for an electric set which picked up right where the acoustic set left off. Trading the intimate feel for sheer volume, the group showed another aspect to their sound, with songs ranging from “Is There a Ghost” to “Ode to LRC” to “The Funeral.”

The split format worked well to showcase the versatility of both the musicians and the songs, and hopefully it is one they will continue to explore in the future. One thing was clear – Band of Horses are still going strong, and the packed house (if it wasn’t sold out, it was definitely close) showed that the loyal fan base that they’ve built up over all of this time is still with them. With several dates still remaining on this tour and more sure to come, you should definitely see them when they come to your town.

PHOTOS © MATT CONDON

Band of Horses setlist

Acoustic

St. Augustine
Part One
Factory
No One’s Gonna Love You
Blue Beard
Weed Party
In Need of Repair
Detlef Schrempf
Dilly
Laredo

Electric

Monsters
The First Song
The Great Salt Lake
Is There a Ghost
Crutch
Marry Song
Older
Ode to LRC
The Funeral
The General Specific

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