WORDS AND IMAGES WARREN MILLAR
At long last Seattle based indie rock band “Band of Horses” made it to the U.K. and more precisely Manchester’s Academy 1. The original gig was supposed to have taken place on March 7th 2022 and we also have a change of venue from Manchester’s Albert Hall to Manchester Academy. This is the first gig of the bands U.K. leg of their tour.
All Music UK’s Warren Millar made the trip over to Manchester to check out this much anticipated gig. It’s not as cold as it has been the last few days as we walk up to Manchester Academy for tonight’s gig and another plus, It’s not raining, they don’t call Manchester “The Rainy City” for nothing you know!
Getting into the venue just as doors open we notice a very impressive “Band Of Horses” Backdrop covering the whole rear of the stage. The stage is looking great which lifts the anticipation just that little bit higher.
First up, in support, we have Gently Tender made up from ex-Palma Violets members Sam Fryer, Will Doyle and Peter Mayhew alongside The Big Moon’s Celia Archer and guitarist Adam Brown. Their new album Take Hold Of Your Promise was released in August 2022 and met with some great reviews. The band are well received by the ever growing Manchester crowd and their togetherness on stage is plain to see. Harmonies from Sam and Celia are a delight to listen to and instrumentally they are spot on. Check these guys out they really are rather good !
During the stage reset we nip outside for a bit of fresh air and get talking to one of the many Band Of Horses fans there. He tells us he has been waiting for this return to the U.K. for ages and for him they are the genuine sound of American rock, which as a fan too we can’t disagree with.
Just after 9pm the Band Of Horses take to the stage and lead man Ben Bridwell looks truly shocked and pleased at the woops, cheers and really loud reception they get also telling us its so nice to be back in the U.K. again, especially kicking it all off in Manchester. This goes down well with their fans and kicks off a mutual friendship and togetherness that lasts the whole night.
Starting the set with “The Snow Fall” Ben is sat playing his slide guitar it’s so great to hear Bens voice live again. Its spot on and instantly recognisable and so so good.
In between songs Ben keeps thanking the fans and he truly looks amazed at the turn out and the love the crowd are showing him and the band. This is a performance that is right up there with the best of the best. Great songs, tight band and a great stage set all adds up to a most enjoyable taste of true American rock.
Stand out songs for us on the night “Crutch” from their latest album Things Are Great released in March 2022, “Older” which saw Ryan Monroe lead on vocals alongside Ben and the brilliant “Is There a Ghost” an instantly recognisable “Band Of Horses” tune.
The last song of the set (before the encore) was for this writer personally the one song that means so much. “The Funeral” is a song that for very sad personal reasons (which I won’t go into here) always makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and to hear it live was a moment I will never forget. Although when introducing the song Ben told us that he has been playing this song for 20 odd years and never gets it right live, Well Ben and “Band Of Horses” you got it so so right tonight for me personally and for that and the memories it brings to me, even though quite sad, I thank you so so much. “Band Of Horses” one of the best bands you’ll ever see live, Do It.
Ben Bridwell – Lead Vocals, Guitar, Pedal Steel, Keyboards
Creighton Barrett – Drums
Ryan Monroe – Keyboards, Guitar, Backing Vocals
Matt Gentling – Bass, Backing Vocals
Brett Nash – Guitar, Backing Vocals
1/ The Snow Fall
9/ No One
10/ Warning Signs
13/ Is There A Ghost
14/ Weed Party
15/ The Funeral
16/ St. Augustine (Ben Acoustic)
17/ Our Swords
18/ The General Specific
FOLLOW BAND OF HORSES
FOLLOW GENTLY TENDER
Warren is a live music and festival photographer based in Cheshire and covers gigs/festivals mostly in the North West of England. He has been photographing live music for over 10 years and has covered major artists and festivals