It was 6 o'clock on Sunday evening and the sun was setting on another Austin City Limits music festival. We ambled over to the Dell stage to check out The Band of Horses. At this point, I felt like I had inhaled about 40 lbs. of dust. Remember last years lush green landscapes and temperate climate? Well, this year was more akin to the "dust bowl" ACL Festival of 2006. With very little rain this summer and strict watering restrictions, I could see why, but it didn't make it any easier.
Back to the music.
We got to the stage early because some friends had a blanket pretty close to the stage and we didn't want to miss a minute of the show. Plus, we needed to rest our dogs after all the walking.
Band of Horses took the stage at approximately 6:28, ready to rock for the masses. Immediately, from the first notes of "First Song" off of their 2006 debut "Everything All of the Time," you knew that this show was going to be a good one. It was. They plowed through the set, which included a good mix of songs off of their latest "Cease to Begin" and the debut album, as well as a couple of new songs and a cover. The mix was great, highlighting their beautiful harmonies and lush wall of majestic sound. Ben Bridwell, the band's leader, seemed amazed and humbled to be playing for such a large and attentive crowd. His remarks in between songs reflected that humbleness: "Look at you guys. You're beautiful. This is amazing," he exclaimed from the stage.
Instead of waiting until the end, Band of Horses launched into the familiar guitar line from their most recognizable song "The Funeral" about halfway into the set. The crowd, of course, went wild, singing along throughout all six minutes of unadulterated bliss. Some other highlights included crowd pleaser "Is There A Ghost," and the soft and subdued "Great Salt Lake." The new songs sounded great as well, especially the song sung by keyboard player Ryan Monroe.
They ended the stellar set with a cover of "A Good Man" by the obscure band Them Two. All and all an excellent end to the festival.