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Band of Horses: New musicians but same sound

In anticipation of Voodoo Fest’s upcoming lineup announcement, I’d like to revisit one of my favorites from last year, Band of Horses. Up until a few weeks ago, the band was practically a mirror of itself. The stage set and song list centered on last year’s Why Are You OK. The Voodoo set, of course, was a bit truncated as it was a festival set, but there really were no real surprises there.

The band has been touring nonstop, and I guess it must have gotten to bassist Bill Reynolds and guitarist Tyler Ramsey as they very unexpectedly quit the band. By any measure, and for a far weaker band, this might have been devastating, but Ben Bridwell, the band's front man and founder, was able to practically pick right up where they stopped. Matt Gentling on bass and Richard Fitzpatrick on guitar stepped in to continue the tour. Gentling had played with the band back in 2007, so he did have some knowledge of the band. He and Fitzpatrick joined Ben Bridwell, Creighton Barrett on drums, and Ryan Monroe on keyboards. The three seasoned musicians were great guides to the new comers.

I was a bit hesitant about Band of Horses's stop at The Joy Theater, mere months after the shakeup, having seen the band a few times before. Much to my surprise, they were spot on. Had you never seen the band before, you really wouldn’t have known there was a different lineup. The stage show was still as great and the iconic tree backdrop seemed to jump off the canvas. The set was cut by two from the written one, but no real surprise there. Last year’s Everything All the Time occupied the bulk of the show as well as getting favorites form Cease to Begin, Infinite Arms and Everything All the Time.

There was no lack of audience participation and Bridwell really seemed to enjoy it, and in turn, that helped the band relax and keep with an outstanding performance. AS expected, the biggest reactions came from “Weed Party,” “No One's Gonna Love You” and the bands commercially lucrative anthem, “The Funeral.”   While “The Funeral” for me doesn’t come off as great as it is on the album, it’s always a joy to listen to.  The visuals matched the pleasing sounds of the night, and to see a full spread of photos, you can check them out here.

You can see more pictures here.

Steven Hatley is a New Orleans-based photographer. You can find more of his photography here.