Amid a shuffling crowd of bearded gentleman and their folk-loving counterparts, with a box of overcooked fried pickles balanced on my fingertips, I eagerly awaited the moment when the woodsy rock group known as Band of Horses would emerge onto the stage. My first time entering the smoke-filled atmosphere of the Fillmore, as the indie rock band continued their tour into Charlotte on Friday, Oct. 28, I was treated almost instantly to the mystical aroma of the concert experience. Even before the band occupied the stage, there was an intense feeling of anticipation, as if in less than an hour the entire place would become a manifestation of sweat, beer, beards, and foot-tapping folk music. However, before that occurred, an entirely different aroma consumed the air.
With the band’s opening act, the Los Angeles-based rock group The Shelters, entrancing the stage before the main event, the elegant mix of melodic blues and fuzzed-out garage rock that illuminated from the indie group managed to kick off the night with brilliant eloquence. With their newest hits “Rebel Heart” and “Fortune Teller” providing just the right kind of free-flowing rock & roll sound, the night only got better as the main event was set to begin.
With only minutes until the motley crew of bearded indie rock darlings known as Band of Horses blossomed on stage, the atmosphere of the room had now manifested into what I thought I might see. With young couples of burly men and their equally-burly partners spreading throughout the club, amongst a colorful handful of others, the room now retained a thick smell of refined beer and the eager anticipation to hear the newest songs from the latest Band of Horses album.
Discovering the folk rock band only a few years back, their sensational hits of “The Funeral” and “Is There A Ghost” quickly made me an on-again-off-again fan of their naturalistic, mid-tempo sound; I stood there now not as a die-hard fan of the group, nor a major fan of the folk rock genre, but merely as a college kid settling in for a relaxing night of exciting yet profoundly soothing music. While the night may have begun with the top of my mouth getting burned by the crunchy, seasoned shell of a fried pickle, and my legs quickly giving away to the lengthy amount of standing, all those trivial nuisances quickly dissolved as the final act took the stage.
With their newest album, “Why Are You OK,” containing plenty of head-bobbing, foot-tapping hits from the classy single ‘Casual Party’ and the soothing melody of “Solemn Oath,” the show really reached its peak when the band’s multi-talented lead vocalist Ben Bridwell took a seat at the edge of the stage and performed a riveting acoustic version of the song “No One’s Gonna Love You.” Evoking a harrowing response from the audience and nearly the entire crowd echoing Bridwell’s melodic vocals, that was the moment when I truly realized where I was. That was the live concert moment I had been really looking for when I heard this band was in town — and a band like Band of Horses most definitely didn’t disappoint.
With the remainder of the night giving way to a fantastic audience and performer interaction, the soothing folk rock heartbeat of Band of Horses never failed to entrance its enthusiastic crowd. With Bridwell’s Southern drawl breathing life into the foggy bar of the Fillmore, and the earthy instrumentals of the band leaving the audience in constant movement, Band of Horses — as well as their opening act, The Shelters — filled the night with evocative rhythm and a memorable performance I won’t soon forget.
To find out more about Band of Horses and their new album, “Why Are You OK,” check out bandofhorses.com, and look for the album in stores everywhere.