Band of Horses at Leeds 2010
The sweet and rustic tones of opener 'For Annabelle' by Band of Horses in the NME/Radio 1 tent, just as the last dwindling rays of weak sunlight succumb to the mild and lazy temperament of dusk. It was as welcomed and gratifying as having someone drape a spare blanket around your shoulders as those wincingly chilly evenings set in. It would be a quiet and unassuming set from a band that deserve every success they have received following the praise of their gorgeous third album, 'Infinite Arms'.
If one word had to be chosen to sum up this show, it would simply be 'beautiful'. On more than one occasion my imagination was able to envisage recordings from their set being used to play over a 'wasn't-it-a-spectacular-weekend' montage. Soaring vocals and warm harmonising created an enchanting atmosphere rich with emotion; each chorus feeling like a long first kiss from a loved one that has been away for too long. 'Is There A Ghost' swept up a vast amount of the audience into impassioned indie intone, the more pacey rockiness steering the sound from ever becoming twee.
Tracks like 'Laredo' and 'Compliments' carry an earthiness within its woodsy travelling rock sound, with a flavour of a destination-free drive down a remote American highway. The sense of wandering takes a different guise in the sublimely eerie quality of 'No One's Gonna Love You', the crushing themes of loneliness and loss making for a very moving live performance. The song of the set award however, goes to 'The Funeral'. Confident, charming, emotive, gutsy yet vulnerable; so many factors meant that this track being performed live would become one of the most memorable moments of Saturday at Leeds.
Like a warm wood fire and a welcomed embrace exactly when you need it most, Band of Horses gave one of the best and most understated performances, as well as a smile, to everyone in the NME/Radio 1 tent that evening.