Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Charles Haddon (Ou Est Le Swimming Pool) interview 2010

News of Charles's death at the Pukkelpop Festival in Belgium has just broken as I write this. I was lucky enough to interview him for the band's first Australian tour due to take place in October. Despite much of the interview's irrelevance in terms of future activity - I wanted to share the results of one of Charles's last promo engagements for fans who would obviously be shocked, as I am, by the loss of a such a young talent who had so much potential.

Charles Haddon

If you like your electro-pop
big and brassy with '80s-centric instant hooks, Ou Est Le Swimming Pool (translated as: Where Is The Swimming Pool?) won't have escaped your radar. Although emerging from the same area of London that produced Pet Shop Boys, this is a mere coincidence for the band, who despite sharing a musical kinship with the Pets', claim no formal knowledge of them. Ou Est Le Swimming Pool's massively popular debut single Dance The Way I Feel, along with a tour opening for La Roux, has earned them a spot on this years Parklife festival alongside dance heavy weights Dan Black, Bag Raiders, Groove Armada and Missy Elliott to name a few.

The band's mouthpiece, Charles Haddon along with his splendid bouffant of hair, is in a talkative mood on the eve of his band's first visit. What are we in for though, I wonder after a trawl through group's online video diary, which shows a group of lads fully in touch with their mischievous sides? "You've gotta do it haven't you" Charles laughs, "There's so many bands around who take it all very seriously, but we've already got up to a fair bit of trouble." Now that Oasis have split the position of 'showing off and being arrogant' is vacant, so perhaps they're the ones fill it? "There are a lot of record companies who won't touch a band who have any kind of reputation for bad behaviour, they just want somebody who's going to turn up and stand on stage and play and then go back to their hotel room and eat fruit." Charles jokes, "But we're actually very proud that we can at least enjoy ourselves as well as get the work done."

It's been just over a year since Ou Est Le Swimming Pool formed in Camden, (North London). Charles recalls the early days of the band and how it could've been a totally different sound that launched them. "Me and Joe (Hutchinson) were doing completely different music in the start. Joe was right into hip hop for example". Charles explains, "He and I were sharing a flat and had all these music projects happening – one of those became Ou Est Le Swimming Pool – so when that started to take off, we dropped all the other stuff we were doing and focused on this." Not a bad move either, the bands debut single, Dance The Way I Feel enjoyed a thorough remixing by Armand Van Helden and instantly put it's creators on the map. Charles says of the bands overnight success on the back of the debut single; "I get that it can be hard to follow up a first rush like that one, but I believe we have plenty of great music." He says, "I mean Dance The Way I Feel was chosen by the record label to be released in Australia ahead of our tour, but I think we have a pretty solid bunch of songs easily as good as that. I'm pretty confident we can that follow up for sure."

Charles claims he knew very early on he wanted to pursue music as a career. He continues, "At the age of about 13 I realised that I wanted to do music, and unfortunately my school work was crippled by that decision." He laughs, "I was actually a scholar when I was younger, but then I ended up getting expelled because I was bunking off all the time. It was good in a way though because I immediately moved to London and started making things happen, wasting no time really." Last year the band embarked on their first tour as opening act for La Roux. It allowed them, as Charles points out, a chance to sharpen up their sound for the inevitable headline shows. "Yeah, La Roux gave us that important live exposure, and allowed us to work out a strong set list of what to actually play in our shows - because we've got about 40 songs written for the first album - and it's hard to pick just seven or eight. I'd leave home thinking we had a perfect set list, but after the first night we ended up changing, like three, so it was a great learning curve for us."
Similar to La Roux, Ou Est Le Swimming Pool have been saddled with the typical '80s revival tag, but Charles reckons working with vintage equipment, "It's all we could afford", has much more to do with their sound than revivalism. "I'm not much of an '80s fan, the only reason we sound the way we do is because our synths are old 808s and our drum machine which we were using, initially came from the '80s. The hip hop stuff that Joe and I were into didn't work at with the equipment we were using so we altered our sound to fit with what we had to work with." On the subject of comparisons, he continues. "When we started we were compared to Depeche Mode and Pet Shop Boys but the only Pet Shop Boys song I knew was Go West because it had been on an advert in England for custard, so I had a pretty skewed idea about what people were hearing in our music." He laughs.

Like so many people of his generation, Charles' earliest musical love was the pop star's pop star; take a bow, the king. "Michael Jackson's History, was the first album I had as a kid," Charles says proudly."I remember my family were moving house and we didn't have anywhere to live for a couple of weeks so we just drove around England, going to sea side towns and stuff, and I can't remember how old I was but I think I cried if we didn't listen to Michael Jackson and my poor parents must have hated him by the end of that trip, because it was two solid weeks of the best of Michael Jackson." They've been wrongly tagged '80s revival, had a false start as a hip hop band and one of them has Jacko fixation, but what do Ou Est Le Swimming Pool all agree can go on the all important tour bus stereo?

"We all have one major love which is a '70s reggae band called Culture – they are absolutely ridiculous, I mean it's just really chilled out songs about smoking pot." Charles exclaims "After seven hours in our van on the road, we need something to calm us down otherwise everyone tends to get a bit agitated." Would Michael Jackson's History revisited cause a few tempers to rise, I wonder? "I think that album was thrown out by my parents actually, or maybe even driven over a few times." Charles smiles, "Thanks for reminding me, now I'm gonna have to get a new one."

As a draw card at this year's Parklife festival, I ask who Charles and his band are most keen on whooping it up with. "I'm quite looking forward to Dan Black. We've played several gigs with him before, but we haven't seen him for a while and he's going really well now. He's such a nice guy too, he even let us get up on stage and dance with him a couple of times." Charles continues, "And, now I've said this before, but I'm definitely going to be best friends with Missy Elliott… She doesn't know it yet but by the time that festival finishes, no by day two, she's going to love us and I reckon we're going to be riding in her limo and her private jet." He reasons, "Plus she's going to pay for everything so we can just go nuts." Charles laughs adding, "If there's one thing we've got as a band its enough confidence and cockiness to pull this off!"


I think this interview shows clearly that Charles had a fun loving, boisterous side to him. It's  so sad that his darker side was the stronger. A lovely guy who leaves a short-lived but exciting legacy in the dance music scene.

Click to watch:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Skye Edwards (Morcheeba) interview (2010)


After fading interest in the UK's trip-hop explosion in the '90s, Morcheeba, one of the scene's biggest success stories split from their lead singer
Skye Edwards in 2003. The band's core, brothers Ross and Paul Godfrey, carried on into the '00s with a revolving door of replacements only to flounder with two underachieving non-Skye albums. It seems they underestimated the popularity of Edwards among fans, but now seven years on, the original line-up are back together with a return-to-form new album to boot. Blood Like Lemonade, has the dark and dreamy quality of the bands' previous best works and Skye, over the phone in pre-launch mode, feels Morcheeba may have their most definitive set of songs to date.

"Well it does feel that way to me," She asserts, "I mean, I do love Big Calm and Who Can You Trust… While Fragments Of Freedom, I do like fragments of, but with this one I am really happy with every song on there so it could well be our ultimate record." After a fleeting mainstream cross-over, the decision was made to return to the sound fans early on identified with on the reunion album. "The first song we wrote together after deciding to make another album was Crimson, which I'm really proud of." Skye beams, "I think it's one of our darkest moments in Morcheeba so far." Listening to Blood Like Lemonade, it's clear that the nonsense bubblegum pop of Rome Wasn't Built In A Day, is long gone. Back in 2000, that song earned Morcheeba its greatest success in terms of sales, while simultaneously pissing off their core fanbase. "With Rome, basically we wanted to get on the radio," Skye admits, sounding a little relieved to put some context into the band's biggest commercial hit, and move away from trip-hop. "We wanted to have a song I guess that people could wave their arms around to at the shows, but at the time I really wasn't very happy about it." She adds, "It's like the way R.E.M. is about Shiny Happy People I think" Skye laughs, "They kind of buried that song, but for us when we go out and play Rome and people sing along to every word of it, I kind of get why you have to make your peace with these things."

Edwards' early dissatisfaction with the song was founded in what she saw as a step backwards personally. "It took me to a different place vocally - at least as far as what I'd done in Morcheeba goes." Pre-Morcheeba, Skye was as a backing vocalist in a funk/pop covers band – something she wasn't keen to re-visit as a performer. "I used to have to sing in this high girly pitch which I wasn't terribly comfortable doing, so when Morcheeba came along it was a relief to be able to use my natural lower register and make less happy-clappy sort of stuff."

Early singles, Trigger Hippie and Tape Loop, made Morcheeba strong contenders in the mid-'90s UK trip-hop scene. Skye even had a 'hangin' with Martina Topley-Bird in the smoking section' vibe. She was a little greener than her peers, but when the second album Big Calm arrived in 1998, Edwards and Morcheeba managed to out-perform most other artists in their genre. It was then the brothers decided to change tact and maximize on the band's commercial clout. 2000's Fragments of Freedom enjoyed a rapid rise in the charts both in the UK and Australia, only to be followed by an equally rapid fall. Skye looks back at their break-out album and its follow-up, Charango. "The songs on Fragments are obviously quite different to anything else we did." She reasons, "The best thing I can say now is that it's a very well produced and well put together record, but I think you can tell Charango sounds like a much more natural follow up to Big Calm." The 2002 album Charango was Skye's last with the Godfrey brothers before now. It hinted at a slinkier, more direct sound and won back a lot of the group's fans who'd baulked at Fragments, yet the group was on thin ice within their ranks and parted ways the following year. When asked if the singer missed working with the Godfrey brothers, she's quick to respond.

"No not really." Skye pauses before she allows a giggle to escape, "It was like the end of a relationship, and you move on and get the new boyfriend – which was, in my case, a new producer. I really enjoyed doing my solo stuff and writing my own lyrics, so I didn't miss them, no." Skye released two original albums between '06 and '09 while Morcheeba carried on with various part-time lead singers. Both parties achieved only limited success. During the separation, Edwards claims she wasn't at all keen on hearing her replacements. "No, it was kind of like seeing your ex-husband with his new girlfriend." She laughs, "I didn't really want to know, however I did hear some of (2008 album) Dive Deep because they actually e-mailed me and asked if I'd like to sing on a couple of the songs, but it just felt a little bit weird." Skye adds, "I won't say I was trying to avoid them altogether but I wasn't exactly seeking them out either."

It seems as if fans may have played a role in getting Skye back with the band, she recalls. "I was getting messages on mySpace from people saying they'd gone to see Morcheeba live and that it wasn't the same without me, which was kind of nice." A chance meeting with Ross after seven years apart developed naturally into a 'why not give it one more go' conversation. Within two months of that agreement Morcheeba had written their first album with Skye since 2002. "Now here we are back again, doing the more down tempo stuff we were known for and with a better range of songs I think." Skye interjects, "It feels like now when we go to do our live shows, we've got a nice cross section of upbeat tracks and songs to get stoned to as well." Edwards speaks emphatically about singing the new, meatier subject matter on Blood Like Lemonade live.

"We haven't done that many shows for this album yet – we're still waiting until the tour kicks off properly - but at the moment I absolutely love singing Crimson. The woman in the song is really psychotic, she tries to kill her married lover by running him off the road, but it's quite fun to be her voice." Skye continues, "There are actually a few songs on this album which would probably qualify it as a sort of 'serial killer record'." She laughs, "You've got Recipe For Disaster, where the woman kills her boyfriend because he's always drunk, and Blood Like Lemonade which is about a vigilante priest who drinks the blood of his victims." I ask Skye if she realises that she's made a Nick Cave album, "Well if Nick Cave was singing Blood Like Lemonade, I think the dark themes would be really obvious, but because it's my gentle vocals on there you're not really going to notice it so much." Skye concludes, laughing. "I can get away with all this carnage because I sound so polite, you see."


Miami Horror interview (2010)


Miami Horror mastermind Benjamin Plant's
sideline in production (Gameboy/Gamegirl) and continual on-point remixes (Faker, Midnight Juggernauts, Stardust) pushed the Melbourne based artists profile up to guaranteed go-to guy for hit potential. Yet in the fickle dance music world he has been careful to stay one step ahead of the fads, and characteristically took his sweet time building up his own cannon of songs before choosing that all important right moment to unleash Miami Horror – the band and a debut album, Illumination. A widespread club compilation fixture and overseas interest were already in place even before he dropped the monster singles; Don't Be On With Her and Sometimes.

Serious introductions over, and seeing as Robert Plant falls within the realm of surprising influences for the Miami Horror, it seems fitting to start with Ben's curious name-sake. "I do appreciate the 'Plant and Led Zeppelin its true." Ben begins, "Most of my tastes are prog rock, or prog anything really." "Actually I should tell you, the Plant side of my family have this gene that makes everybody turn out exactly the same." He laughs. "I was recently looking at these old photos of my grandfather and he looked exactly like my father does now, and so I kind of know what I'll look like already when I'm older." What, I press on, does the future hold for Ben in the looks department? "Well much like Robert Plant, the men in my family don't age well at all." He sighs. His Miami Horror project so far has produced naught but blistering techno anthems. So just what is Ben hearing in these big-haired dinosaurs that most of us aren't? "I like that those bands never had conventional song structure. They always had these big elaborate parts that would only occur one time and then you'd have a second, and a third completely different build-up. Those bands never repeated themselves in their songs."

Talk of prog bands and unlikely links to techno turns to German rave act Scooter and his abhorrent cover of Supertramp's Logical Song. Ben reveals, "We actually covered that as well for Triple J's Like A Version, but I was against the idea at first because of Scooter's version. I felt it was kind spoiled for good, but in the end we just tried to keep it nice and simple… and nothing like Scooter." Don't expect to Miami Horror's Supertramp homage in their live set though – instead they've opted for the Manfred Mann classic Blinded By The Light to wrap up on. "I think my voice is better suited to that one and besides there's just something magical about it." Ben laughs.

After a discussing Miami Horror's blinding live set last year at the Five Burroughs Festival, Ben describes how his studio creations needed a full re-jig for a full band if the songs were going to work in concert. "The music was so programmed on my EP (Bravado) and it just seemed really retarded to try and play like that as live as a band so when it came to recording this album, we decided to write in a way that would suit a band more. It just wouldn't have made sense to do it any other way." The development of Miami Horror as a group began after Ben's part-time musical partnerships grew into crucial collaborations. He explains. "Josh (Moriarty - guitar) wrote Don't Be On With Her and Dan (Whitechurch - keys) wrote the lyrics for Sometimes, and so basically I went from doing DJ sets in bad clubs to writing with those guys and finally getting a full time drummer, in the process becoming an actual band. It's very much a collaborative effort all the way now." Many of the words on Illumination were written by the band because of Ben's detachment as the tireless studio boffin, he clams. "Literally for like 12 hours a day over the last year I've been in the studio, and when I'm not doing that we're touring, so I didn't exactly have a lot to say I guess. I wasn't so much as reading a book during the time."

Miami Horror's name has been bandied around for the best part of three years. But early top rated remixes, including Faker's This Heart Attack and Tegan and Sarah's Walking With A Ghost, and an original debut EP, have only now given way to a long-time-coming album. Ben discusses. "Some stuff has been hanging around for about six years waiting for me to finish the album, but they've gone through many changes along the way. I think a lot has been made of how long this has taken to finish, but over half of it was written in the last 12 months or so."

Although his debut album was still a long way off, it hadn't marred Ben's strong support over the past year. Tours with Lily Allen and festival billings (in the 'big words' section) at Splendour, Groovin' The Moo and Good Vibrations landed at his feet. All that's left to do now for Miami Horror is keep riding the wave, surely? :"Well, I feel like I can relax a bit now it's (Illumination) finished, but we're heading off to the US on the 24th (August) so I'm sure that prove to be a bit of a distraction." He continues, "It's kind of a catch up at this stage, because although the album's still new I'm already into a bunch of different stuff." Ben adds, "I'm interested in touring the band internationally quite a bit because I think we have a lot of overseas influences. I purposely didn't want us to sound too Australian, but rather something else that I won't name…" He cackles mysteriously, "It was a case of if it doesn't work here, then maybe we would be big in Europe or at least be able to tour there if it completely stiffs in Australia."


Click to watch:

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Jason Kingshott (Glide) interview (2010)


When Sydney band Glide called it a day in 2000, it was in the most sombre of situations. Their last concert together was at a wake for the friends and family of their singer, William Arthur, who died suddenly and mysteriously towards the end of '99. His death at 34 spelled Glide's end after a ten year run as one of Australia's most endearing shoe-gaze acts but now another decade has passed, the band are on a timely mission to remind us what we lost in Arthur - a songwriter of great stead. Glide's complete and much sort after catalogue is to be reissued through iTunes, coinciding with a two date live performance, which will see Youth Group's Toby Martin – a long time fan – step into Arthur's shoes. He will be joined by the surviving Glide line-up, bassist Marc Lynch, guitarists Andy Kelly and Tim Scott and drummer Jason Kingshott in celebration of William's work at the East Brunswick Club. I catch up with Jason Kingshott today as preparations mount and the buzz builds for what promises to be a very memorable night.
"I think the early to mid '90s was a pretty exciting time for music, especially in Australia." Jason begins, "That said, I always though Glide had a very international sound. We had a lot of fans in New Zealand and England and the overseas influences were strong in our music, and in a way I think our potential wasn't really picked up on at the time because we weren't really 'typically Australian'. I think we were up there with our contemporaries though." Many agreed, and Glide, although never reaching mainstream success, bashed out a solid underground niche for themselves alongside the likes of Clouds and Smudge. Their breakthrough came when two overseas contemporaries at their peak, Blur and Ride, requested Glide as a support on their respective Aussie tours. A chance to meet their musical idols and even match them in concert was too good to pass up, Jason recalls. "You don't get cocky about it, but we thought it makes sense that those bands would want our band to open for them. It wasn't intimidating because we felt we had a kinship with them and when it came to performing, we also had that wall of noise thing going on and were just as able to fill those big venues with our own sound too."

After stumbling upon internet forums discussing Glide, many fans up til now have seemingly been swapping the bands rarities in mp3 format. Actual CD reissues were never really discussed, Jason explains, as Glide's complete recordings are finally available in digital glory. "I just think iTunes is a more immediate way for people to get hold of the music, and a lot of our older fans will already have the CDs so there wouldn't be any need for physical releases. Also doing it this way means people can fill the gaps in their collection and get songs that were previously only out on B-sides or EPs."  With just two reunion shows and Glide's reissues on iTunes only, it all seems a little understated. Perhaps as Jason pointed out their appeal was quite marginal  in Australia and a full fledge re-emergence would create confusion. A small backlash has inevitably occurred, but it's difficult to fault Glide's reasoning. Jason responds, "When the press release first came out there were some people saying, it's wrong and this sends the wrong message or whatever but I honestly don't care about that." He ensures, "It (Glide) was a big part of our lives and also why not celebrate William's skill as an artist. Further more we have the full support of his family for these shows so I am completely at peace with our decision to go through with this because we're doing it for the right reasons."

I recall The Triffids reunion/tribute shows back in early '09 as Jason speaks, and the addition of Toby Martin as one of the late David McComb's stand-ins. As a long time fan of Glide, Martin once again is set to re-visit his from-fan-to-conduit role. Kingshott says on how Toby came to be involved. "We were already acquainted through friends in the music community, but the turning point came after I had a conversation with Andy a few months ago along the lines of wouldn't it be great to play together again and get Toby to front it." He exclaims, "Being that its 20 years since we started the band, and ten since we performed William's tribute, something just clicked and Andy actually told me he'd been thinking about the exact same thing." He adds, "The fact that we both had been thinking it suddenly meant it could be tangible and before we knew it the whole thing started to come together. Plus it turned out Toby was a big fan of William's music."

Kingshott on his Glide band mates, believes making music was the glue in their friendships. He further describes. "Andy and I still would get together for drinks and so forth but there was always that other side to our friendship not really being indulged - making music – and it was pretty hard to ignore, so when things started coming together with Toby we already knew we could see it through properly." Jason continues, "Toby has been so committed too, and he can even get those bizarre chords that William came up with. Everyone's been playing so well in rehearsals but even though it's harder for Toby because he's following an existing blueprint in a way, he really gets it."

The man whose untimely death all this is in response to, William Arthur must have had quite an impact on his band mates. To revisit all of his work and relive music they made together would surely carry with it a painful twinge for a lost mate. Jason contemplates. "It is very bizarre looking back at some songs I had shivers down my spine to be honest, particularly because they evoke so many memories for me. It definitely affects the senses." He adds, "You have to step back from yourself sometimes, which is kind of how I remember William in a way. In the early days we all loved a drink and many an after party would go on into the wee hours in these indie clubs in Sydney and Melbourne and William would always be there just taking it all in." Rumoured to be somewhat anti-social, Arthur was instead all about moderation. Jason continues, "Contrary to the belief that he would retire to his hotel room after shows, don his smoking jacket and take in a little Norman Mailer," Laughs, "William was human and needed to blow off steam as much as any of us, but he was a very creative and intellectual guy, you know, he just didn't like to dance." 

Seeing as Glide are now a full band again, the question of future projects with Toby staying on as the singer seems relevant. Jason concludes, "I gotta be honest with you that did cross my mind. I haven't spoken to the guys about it yet, but I doubt we could release anything new as Glide because that was William's band. But talking about it now makes me think that maybe the idea I had in the back of my mind wasn't so crazy after all."


Monday, August 2, 2010

Band Of Horses live in Melbourne 2010 (acoustic set)

Acoustic Splendor Side Show at The Corner, 26/07/10 

Band Of Horses leader, Ben Bridwell is in possession of one of the finest voices in contemporary Americana, yet  his occasional, severe stage-fright means his unassertive vocals can weaken when the band are in full cry. The announcement then of a  special acoustic one-off show was instantly tantalizing given Bridwell's often tender delivery. Wonderfully, this stripped back affair would prove to be an ideal setting for Ben to breathe life into his cache of songs. He along with Tyler Ramsey (lead guitar) and Ryan Monroe (keys) harmonise beautifully throughout the set which is made up evenly of tracks from all three albums. The acoustic billing also meant they were keen to play around with some arrangements - treating to a much sped up Wicked Gil and a greatly slowed down Weed Party from debut, Everything All The Time

The current album, Infinite Arms is overall a more up lifting set than say 2007's shimmering, moody Cease To Begin, and even the sway-along hay ride of the first record doesn't quite reach it's gleeful heights. That pervading sunny vibe is captured effortlessly tonight, and speaking of captured, this concert is being filmed – the four TV studio-sized cameras gave it away – for a future DVD release, which really should have encouraged a bit more audience response, but many here tonight are affected by Monday-itis so there's very little activity off stage. Ben's in good spirits though and talks a lot between songs, plus he's no longer hidden behind that famous wall of hair, but instead, just for the shoot he's mowed it all down to a neat little moustache. Tyler Ramsey, the gigantic lead guitarist, however is a mop on legs looking more than ever like he's not so much on tour but had just escaped from a cellar in the dead of night. The rest of the band are in various degrees of beard farming mode, with the prize going to Ryan Monroe for his ample 'ginger bear' growth. But let's not split whiskers when there's glorious music to review - and Band Of Horses have a peerless amount of that. It's pretty hard to believe they already have three albums out. 

It feels like only yesterday I heard The Funeral for the first time and fell instantly and deeply in love all the while harbouring the thought that 'nobody would ever hear how great this is, it's far too cult-y.' Fool me, the word got out and their sound waves of golden greatness spread around the globe gently bewitching people en masse. Then came second album Cease To Begin providing all us mortals, haunted and music starved with a juicy morsel to see out the winter. This album's strength is it recalls great music from across decades past, while sounding inspired and new. The set tonight is bookended by two cuts from Cease… the yearning Cigarettes, Wedding Bands and the paean to great story telling, Ode To LRC, while the bittersweet No One's Gonna Love You forms the centrepiece. On the latter song we are treated to a sublime acoustic reworking, just Ben and Tyler sharing a mic while the band exit the stage. Simple and captivating moments like these fill-out the show and that Monday-itis felt throughout the crowd is begins to look more like stunned amazement. The support act, Mike Noga & The Gentlemen Of Leisure, who played a pretty tidy blues rock set tonight features Dan Luscombe from The Drones, who has become close with Band Of Horses. He surprises us and joins them on stage, complete with his accordion, for a rousing Marry Song. Ben and Dan perform a bizarre introduction, Bridwell; "Hello Mr Fuck, I'm Mrs Fuck." It makes little sense, but the comradely exchange is hilarious. It's noteworthy that Band of Horses for the first time wrote or co-wrote much of Infinite Arms as a group, as opposed to just Ben writing as on the previous albums. As a result, new songs such as Older - which was written and sung by Ryan – sees Ben take the backseat and the keyboardist lead the band for a time. It's this new dynamic, along with the full band harmonies that really propels the show along. 

The band have found a solid footing at last after losing several members in their short lifespan and have eventually gained musicians fully committed to making Band Of Horses a tour de force. Their 2008 show was a triumph, but tonight an even happier, more dynamic and sweeter sounding group stand before us. The obvious friendship between Ben and Tyler particularly has provided a benefit to their live show. A second duet, Evening Kitchen, in the encore shows off the two lads evenly matched pitch and range. They compliment each other so well, it's as if neither wants to let the other down or outshine him. This acoustic set demonstrated a softer, more pliable side of the band, yet they only held back a little on the grunt. The majority of the songs were less 'unplugged' as they were 'reshaped' and in doing so, lost absolutely none of their appeal. Experiencing this concert was a seriously enriching couple of hours. With seemingly little effort, these horses once again finish first.


Photos by myself and Fruitbat taken at the Palace show the following night.

SONG FOR YOU (Gram Parsons cover)