Last Night: Band of Horses, Midlake at Verizon Theatre

Band of Horses, Midlake
Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie
April 7, 2011

Better than:
seeing a band of actual horses, which the group of people behind me seemed to think was the funniest joke possibly ever.

bandofhorses.jpg
Band of Horses
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With certain performers, it's all about the voice.

And so it was last night at the Verizon Theatre, as Band of Horses trotted through the region as part of their tour to perform a show on a bill bolstered by a one-off support appearance by Denton's Own Midlake. In the cases of both bands, actually -- albeit to different ends, with one act seeing its lead vocalist shine as the other, try as he might, faltered.

Unfortunately for the hometown heroes in Midlake, it was their vocalist who wasn't at his best.

Halfway through the band's 40-minute set, it became fairly clear: Tim Smith, not only the band's lead vocalist but also its primary songwriter, just didn't have his regular, so very distinctly tender vocals under control on this night. After group vocals -- and especially those contributed by Smith's main harmony partner, guitarist Eric Pulido -- carried the bulk of the load as the band ran through its most popular song, Smith addressed the crowd.

"That one was called 'Roscoe,'" Smith said, cheerfully, but with a very evident rasp not usually noticeable suddenly very much so. "It's the one that made us famous, man. World famous!"

He was kidding. But, also, maybe not. Smith followed that quip up with another that told a great deal about the band's self-awareness: "This [next] one's called 'Acts of Man,'" he continued. "It didn't do as well. To me, it's better, though."

His own opinion aside, the song suffered due to his vocal wavering.

But the rest of Midlake's live seven-piece ensemble band was in fine form, as they performed a set that, per usual, completely disregarded the band's earliest material. And there was even a treat thrown in -- a new song, one that Pulido tells DC9 is tentatively called "Dawn Has Arrived," which came off sounding like the bridge between the band's most recent two releases, 2010's more somber The Courage of Others and 2006's sometimes-bouncy The Trials of Van Occupanther, from which a great deal of the band's set last night was culled.

And that, really, may have been the big theme of this night: In many ways, it felt like 2006 all over again. Because, despite the headlining act's having released two albums since their own 2006 breakthrough, their debut full-length, Everything All The Time, Band of Horses too offered up a set that heavily leaned on the album released in that year.

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Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie

1001 Performance Place, Grand Prairie, TX

Category: Music

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8 comments
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B.P.B.
B.P.B.

Great review... I disagree with the better performance. Where I was sitting, Midlake sounded about 10 times greater than BOH featuring much warmer tones. Tim's voice may not have been at top form that night, but I found BOH sounding a bit like the mid-American modern rock (102.1) we have all grown to disdain in this area. That being said, my seats sounded huge and sonically great. Could have just been your seats.

Again, this show shouldn't have been a pissing contest on who was better. And at the show, it wasn't. In the end, it was great 2 bands who are following their own distinct paths by creating music that is both original and wholly inspired in a world full of sound-a likes.

barry
barry

Watching BoH I couldn't help but feeling like I was watching a band that could just as easily have been Train, or some other vapid adult contemporary group. The powerful, dark, brooding overtones of BoH's first two releases, and their live performances on those tours (especially Ben Bridwell) is no more. Bridwell has gone from a guy that used to sit for the set, barely interact with the crowd, and hammer you with the power of the music and his pipes, to a guy that dances around on stage, encourages the crowd to clap along, and takes oh-so obvious dramatic pauses to stir crowd anticipation (like they did with "Great Salt Lake" last night). Blech... It was all too feel-goody/show-bizy for me, or maybe it was all the dude-bros with their arms around each others waists and shoulders swaying back and forth and spilling $9 Bud Lite all over my shoes. Either way, BoH's set was totally forgettable for me.

Besides the crappy mix, Midlake was bad ass (amazing players, everyone of them) - wish they would give their metroplexian fans more love, more often.

Lindsay
Lindsay

I love Bamnan and Slivercork & always wish they would play some.

OldManJam
OldManJam

I have never liked the acoustics at Verizon/Nokia - it is a struggle for me to go to a show there as some of the most muddled mixes I have suffered through have been at Verizon/Nokia.

Darrylrs
Darrylrs

van morrison and john fogerty sounded great at nokia/verizon, but other times, the sound has been horrible. wonder why.

DAVE
DAVE

Does anyone know what song BOH ended its set with? It was a cover, and I liked it alot.

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