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Band of Horses Play New Tunes in Chicago

Band of Horses Play New Tunes in Chicago

They may not be playing Lollapalooza, but Band of Horses sure kicked the 2012 iteration of the festival off with a bang.

Playing an intimate show at the Metro on Chicago’s North Side, the Southern goth rockers were certainly a hot ticket, especially considering their highly-anticipated fourth album, Mirage Rock, is set to drop Sept. 18. 

So while the packed crowd was buzzing to see the hits, there was a palpable sense of anticipation to hear the fresh tracks live.

Frontman Ben Birdwell didn’t make fans wait long.

After starting out with two favorites – “The Great Salt Lake” and a goosebump-inducing “Is There A Ghost” – Band of Horses began peppering in Mirage tunes.  Perhaps the forthcoming record is a testament to Band of Horses’ current base in South Carolina, and le

There is a bayou feel to “How to Live” and “Knock Knock,” while “Dumpster World”channels Neil Young and was a crowd-pleaser.ss of their Pacific Northwest roots, as there was the rollicking, swampy vibe to much of the new music.

Previously a shy stage performer, Birdwell kept the energy high by bouncing around the stage in his pointed-toe black boots.

At one point, he traded his guitar for a tambourine and drumstick for another new one, the catchy stomper “Everything’s Gonna Be Undone.” 

At another, he got rid of his guitar mid-song, thanking the band at the end with a laugh for “knowing how to play their instruments.”  Birdwell might have flubbed parts of that one, but the mishap only added to the euphoria of the evening.

The highlight of the evening – on a night filled with many – was probably a version of “No One’s Gonna Love You” that was equally heart-wrenching and skull-crushing led by a monster bass line by Bill Reynolds.

The Horses’ 90-minute set came to a close with an ethereal version of “The Funeral” that was led by Birdwell’s chilling voice ringing off the walls of the Metro until Reynolds and drummer Ryan Monroe came crashing in and everything devolved into a crowd hum-along.

As the festive night ended, the Windy City is prepping for more than 100 bands to descend on Lollapalooza throughout the weekend.

But Band of Horses put on a singular show as a perfect primer.

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