Band of Horses at the Calvin Theatre


It started with one woman. Three songs in to Band of Horses’ performance Monday at the Calvin Theatre in Northampton, she popped out of her seat toward the front to dance.

(Update: Or, according to two commenters, some guy down front. But enough about him. Point is, people couldn’t sit still.) Her willingness to act on her enthusiasm quickly rippled through the orchestra section until much of the rest of the crowd was on its feet, too, where they remained for all but a handful of slower jams while Band of Horses rumbled through a 90-minute show. The South Carolina-via-Seattle quintet played with triumphal energy, their songs spiraling up into hearty communal sing-alongs anchored by huge guitars and sturdy backbeats.

Singer Ben Bridwell couldn’t have looked happier, grinning between songs, harmonizing with keyboardist/guitarist Ryan Monroe and leading audience sing-alongs in a soulful, expressive voice that can veer in an instant from low and thoughtful to intense and fiery. The group played tunes from all four of their albums, hitting high points with the chiming guitars that stood in for the album string parts on “Factory,” glimmers of organ that contributed to a robust take on “No One’s Ever Gonna Love You” and the soaring vocals of “Is There a Ghost.” After ending the main set with a burst of guitars on “Ode to the LRC” and the quiet-loud-quiet rocker “The Funeral,” Band of Horses returned for a two-song encore that began with “The General Specific.”

A three-man acoustic lineup of Midlake opened the show with a 45-minute set of folky, enveloping songs spanning the group’s catalog, including “Roscoe” from the Denton, Texas, band’s acclaimed 2006 album “The Trials of Van Occupanther.”

  2 comments for “Band of Horses at the Calvin Theatre

  1. Jon
    July 29, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    Actually it was a guy down front who was the first to stand. Security asked him to sit and he looked around for support from the crowd. One woman enthusiastically joined him, followed by much of the orchestra sections.

    • Shaun
      July 29, 2014 at 11:47 pm

      This is true. Security asked the man on the end to sit down and after asking the crowd for support, many others in the orchestra joined.

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