Crofoot Ballroom, Pontiac, Nov. 10, 2007

Sunday morning, 11:30 AM.

As I splashed my face with lukewarm water attempting to wash sleep from my eyes, I started recollecting last nights Band of Horses show at the Crofoot. Why would a band that has released two of my favorite albums in the past few years not do much for me live? They played passionately and tight but something was missing. What was it that made me and my three companions leave disappointed?

The most convincing answer I could derive was errors in set pacing. BoH started with dreary balladry and didn’t deliver a foot tapping number until halfway into the set (Weed Party from their 2006 LP, Everything All the Time). Maybe this was an effort in convenience. Front man Ben Bridwell is forced to sit when playing the lap steel, which is featured predominately on the softer tracks. Perhaps the thought was to get those songs out-of-the-way, for a shot at subtlety turning the knob of intensity later. For me, it was a mistake. The knob was turned far too unhurried. The tempo created uneasy anxiety all through the crowd. There were more bathroom breaks and beer runs than a typical frat party. By the time BoH demanded attention, everyone was spent. Aside from a few hip-hop fist pumpers up front, the throng subsided to more loud conversation than watching.

Hopefully this was just an off night. Maybe BoH is one of those acts that rewrite their set list prior to each show. If so, next time they should spend as much time drawing it up as I did trying to convince my cohorts that, “They’re really a great band, I swear!”