Closing out the Gentilly Stage – one of two main festival venues – the Seattle-born, South Carolina-relocated band brought their infectious rock to the masses and were happy to do so.
One couldn’t count the amount of times frontman Ben Bridwell smiled genuinely as he soulfully ended a lyric, or the amount of times bassist Bill Reynolds gave a knowing and enthusiastic head-nod to keyboardist/guitarist Ryan Monroe.
With the cloudy skies darkening over Crescent City, Band of Horses performed a set that spanned their four albums, with several jewels from their latest, Mirage Rock, which was produced by the legendary Glyn Johns.
One of the Mirage tracks included the romping “Knock Knock,” which had everyone singing and bouncing along.
But before that, Band of Horses gave fans a taste of some of their earlier hits, like “Is There a Ghost” from 2007’s Cease to Begin, and even the slow-building “The Great Salt Lake” off 2006’s Everything All the Time.
As high-energy as the set was, Band of Horses slowed things down slightly for “No One’s Gonna Love You,” which still managed to cause a sweetly-swaying effect in the observing masses.
Really, it was amazing how strong the camaraderie was with the band. Although rarely pausing to address the crowd – Bridwell did ask though if everyone was having a good time, too – each musician took opportunities to mess with the other in a brotherly way.
And when the band is enjoying themselves, it’s nearly impossible for the crowd to not follow along.
As the haunting opening notes for “The Funeral” signaled the end of the show and Jazz Fest’s opening day, fans screamed enthusiastically. They continued doing so after Band of Horses walked back behind the curtain after their last notes were strummed.
The people wanted to keep this party going. And considering that this festival is in New Orleans, it probably will. Band of Horses just lit the fuse.