To say it has been a interesting journey for Band Of Horses over the past couple of years might be a bit of an understatement. The group that is not shy about change has made quite a few through their short history which begins with some help from their friend Sam Beam (Iron & Wine). The group formed from the ashes of Carissa’s Wierd and in three short years have already recorded two excellent albums, toured the country multiple times, lost members, added new ones and relocated across the country.
Hell, they have even played our fair city of Cincinnati three times now, the last of which was Sunday night at the Southgate House to a sold out audience. But it was the night before and down in Louisville that I caught them this time, out in support of album number two, Cease To Begin and headlining the Halfway To Forecastle event at Headliners Music Hall.
First though, a note or two about Forecastle. This humble little festival that began in 2002 and that honestly, not many people outside of Louisville probably knew about until about 2005, has certainly grown up. When head man JK McKnight began to book more regional and national acts that year, people started to take note. The summer festival took a big step last year by bringing on the likes of De La Soul and Girl Talk amongst many other recognizable acts and this is the first time they have ever held a “halfway” event. The people were great, the setup was top notch and overall, I felt like JK and his crew used Headliners about as good as I have seen it used, and I have been down about a dozen or so times in the past 5 years.
Catfish Haven were the first act I was able to catch and it had been about a year since I had seen the Chicago boys last. They played a rollicking set complete with two new backing singers that lead singer George Hunter referred to as Catfish Haven and The Cookers. Some new music made its way into the set along with favorites like “Crazy For Leaving” and “Let It Go, Got To Grow”. Really excited for the next album from these guys.
See the entire Catfish Haven photoset here.
Cass McCombs and his band hit the stage next, I was not totally sure what to expect from McCombs live. After all, he was fresh off a lo-fi tour with Jose Gonzalez and was following the garage rock of Catfish Haven and preceding the southern beat of BOH, but was hoping for the best due to the fact that his most recent album was excellent. And he really did a great job with his set. His band ripped through their set with a steady beat that seemed to flow through the entire set of songs that included such gems as Equinox, Lionkiller, Crick In My Neck and Thats That. I was not disappointed in the least.
And then the headliners for the evening came on, and despite the fact that there will still a few really good bands that would be taking the stage after BOH, most in attendance knew this was the big draw of the night. Ben and company launched into all the good tunes you would expect from both Everything All The Time and Cease To Begin. I cannot think of a tune that I was hoping to hear that did not get played. In addition, we were treated to a new song that I really enjoyed, written by keyboardist Ryan Monroe wrote, not sure of the title, but Ben took backing vocals and it was a great tune. If you did not think BOH loved Neil Young up to now, hearing this new song will push you into that camp quickly.
A great, tight set for the 5 piece this weekend in Louisville to be sure, and they seem to be hitting their stride only a week into the new tour which sees them on the road for the better part of three months, catch em if you can, more dates here.
Is There A Ghost?