Ben Bridwell’s Band of Horses recently made a stop at The Fillmore Silver Spring for the second show of their An Evening with Band of Horses Tour. The evening consisted of a 10-song acoustic set followed by a 10-song electric set.
Bridwell formed the band in 2004 in Seattle, Washington, and has been the only member to stay consistently throughout their 20-year career. They have been touring promoting their sixth studio album Things are Great, which was released in 2022. The album marked a significant lineup change; longtime members Tyler Ramsay (guitarist) and Bill Reynolds (bassist) were absent from the album.
Upon entering the venue on Jan. 30, I was greeted with the pungent smell of a fog machine. I could see the fog swirling around near the front of the stage; it reminded me of fog that’s especially present in a cool coastal morning. Their stage design consisted of area rugs, quirky lamps, electric candles, and a backdrop that emulated a gloomy walk in the woods. The room felt homey and inclusive and the feeling increased once Bridwell took the stage.
Bridwell humbly walked onto the stage solo with just his guitar. He opened the set with “St. Augustine” off the debut album Everything All the Time (2006). While in the photo pit, I thought to myself: “It can’t be just him for the entire acoustic set, right?” Shortly after this, longtime member Ryan Monroe and newbie Brett Nash joined Bridwell on the stage to perform “Part One.” The trio gathered around the mic to perform, and it felt like family jamming together in the living room. For their third song, “Factory,” the full band came together onstage.
Watch Band of Horses perform “Factory” live at Hollywood Forever via YouTube:
At The Fillmore Silver Spring, the crowd consisted of people of all ages, which I feel is rare these days at concerts. I saw people with their young kids holding up Band of Horses tee-shirts to their bodies that they’ll “grow into” one day. I saw elderly adults both at the barricade and watching from the balcony. That’s probably the most utopian aspect of a concert: people of all ages coming together to enjoy the same thing.
For their electric set, they began bathed in blue light with Birdwell at the keyboard to perform “Monsters” off their debut album. During the electric set, the vibe in the room had completely changed. It went from cozy cabin acoustic jam, to a booming rock concert with strobe lighting galore. In their approximately 15-minute intermission, all candles and lamps were wiped from the stage. The woodsy background remained, but only visible when the strobe lighting allowed. Bridwell was rocking a black muscle tank as opposed to his black denim jacket and button-up combo.
Nearing the end of their set, Bridwell said, “This song is about a funeral” to which the audience responded with whoops and cheers whilst hearing the melancholic guitar riff. In the opening to the song, Birdwell said, “might wanna help me,” and the audience tentatively hums a series of oohs, and Bridwell responded, “come on y’all,” encouraging attendees to belt out the melody they most certainly know. The song broke into roaring guitars, and the venue was covered in deep red lighting.
The setlist consisted of songs from their first three albums: Everything All the Time, Cease to Begin, and Infinite Arms. Only two songs were played from Things are Great: the two singles “Crutch” and “In Need of Repair.”
The tour continues through the northeast and will be making a stop at Baltimore Soundstage on Feb. 9. I highly recommend checking it out.
Here are some photos of Band of Horses performing at The Fillmore Silver Spring on Jan. 30, 2024. All pictures copyright and courtesy of Carolin Harvey.