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Band of Horses at Grand Central

By UrbanAnthropod, June 18, 2010 10:05 pm

Following up on a Tweet from Band of Horses, I discovered that AOL (they still exist and have money to sponsor things?) was throwing a surprise pop-up show inside Grand Central Terminal. I’d heard Band of Horses live before when they opened for Pearl Jam last month at the Garden. Appraising their sound was a bit hard given the vast emptiness of MSG during the opening acts. To make things worse, the sound just wasn’t that great from my seat with the normal people instead of my usual Ten Club tickets on the floor. To sum it up, they sounded like the soundtrack to a teenage boy losing his virginity infused with alt-country southern rock. Take that last sentence any way you want to. All I can say is it works. They’ve been gaining a lot of momentum recently and have been making their way onto a lot of television placements. A free show is always good. And a free show inside an iconic Beaux-Arts transit building made it even more appealing.

From the rear of the free Band of Horses show in Grand Central

Arriving an hour before the show, the line quickly wrapped around the corner. As would be expected, thousands of people darted in and out of the building and would ask what the long line was about. Eventually making my way, I was greeted with a horrible layout. Risers were set up at about a third of the distance away from the stage where cameras and soundboards were placed. This completely obscured the view of anyone who did not arrive promptly when the line formed. As the show was about to start, someone came on the PA system and gave a hint to how bad the acoustics were. Granted, it’s not a traditional concert venue, but the voice was completely garbled. The charm of the venue was soon wearing on me. Poor acoustics and bad line of sight was exceedingly disheartening. I kept thinking back to the time I was in the SNL studio to see Ben Harper when Carson Daly was in the city. I realize that the quality of a soundstage and that of Vanderbilt Hall can’t compete. But the Grand Central background of the SNL set made me cringe when the band took to the stage and went into their first song since I kept drawing comparisons to how things should sound (if this was taking place in the soundstage that looked just like the place I was actually at).

Eventually retreating to the back of the hall to escape from the aggregate of people, I discovered I could catch better glimpses of what was happening on stage.
Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses
Ben Bridwell


Band of Horses at Grand Central

Ben Bridwell in Grand Central Terminal


The band played about an hour and closed off with “The Funeral” off their debut album. The song started and was met with a rousing set of cheers. Despite the issues with acoustics, the quiet and stark guitar echoed hauntingly through Vanderbilt Hall before the rest of the band entered with a great crash of sound. Although the performance was marred by poor acoustics, the closer was a crowd pleaser that left most people settled.

Set List

Ode to LRC
Too Soon
Is There a Ghost
Compliments
Factory
Marry Song
Evening Kitchen
Older
Laredo
Writers
No One’s Gonna Love You
Infinite Arms
Monsters
The Funeral

Postscript

Even though place was not meant for concerts, it was a cool experience. And as long as it’s free, I’d be interested in seeing shows there (unless they’re for Drake).

Related posts:

  1. Ra Ra Riot Release Show @ Sound Fix Records
  2. Black Diamond Skye
  3. The National Underground
  4. Jersey Triple Play at the Canal Room
  5. Anticipating MSG

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