View all of Steve’s HORSE The Band photos here.
HORSE The Band just unleashed their new album “Desperate Living,” and to celebrate, the band decided to bring their unique brand of blasphemous noise to the Eagle Rock Center for the Performing Arts for a record release party. But they also brought some friends along for the ride, in the forms of iwrestledabearonce, and Rolo Tomassi. So were they able to melt everyone’s faces off with the combined power of heavy metal and keyboards? For the most part, yes.
The opening bands borrowed/lend quite a bit to the type of sound that Horse has created. And while it would be completely unfair to label either of them as opportunistic, or derivative, it’s not completely unfair to say that they sounded very similar to one another. And interestingly enough, they were both fronted by female vocalists, both feature keyboardists, and both bands have five members. Matters of clarity were only made even more complex by the fact that both bands lead singers use an almost audible identical twin of a scream, with the only stand out moment of difference coming in the form of iwrestledabearonce’s Krista Cameron’s occasional Bjork inspired crooning, and Eva Spence’s blond hair to Krista Cameron’s brunette.
While both bands did a more than competent job of getting the crowd moving, and shaking, there’s definitely room for some expansion of sound for both camps, which isn’t a surprising thing in a genre that’s still wide open for experimentation. But at the same time, I think that for both of these bands, any type of overindulgence that only results in them falling further into their own rabbit hole would probably be a misstep, as others like Genghis Tron continue to paint some very frightening, and beautiful musical images that should serve as a creative template for those that are serious about progression, and intimidation for those that are content to settle. It’s one of those “only time will tell..” sort of situations, but the potential payoff, could be well worth the investment of risk.
By the time Horse took the stage, the audience was a healthy rock and roll mixture of half drunk, and sweaty excitement. So when the signature sound of Lord Gold’s keyboards filled the crowded auditorium, the response was predictably insane. It only took one song to turn the entire audience from a collection of mumbled conversation, into a cacophony of slam dancing maniacs. It seemed like everyone was right at home in this absolutely insane mix of noise, and wildly animated bodies, but no one more so than Horse. Only a few songs in the band had made a “friend” in the form of one of the audience members whose drunken performance was apparently either so amusing, or amazing (take your pick) they decided to let him join them on stage to help them sing along.
This unique brand of organized chaos is without a doubt what made the show so much damn fun. If Nathan wasn’t fighting back the swarm of people constantly overflowing onto the stage, he was singing in the sea of them, or wearing the various items of clothing they saw fit to throw to him at random intervals. I’ll forever have the image of him using a red beanie as an impromptu sock puppet back up vocalist, only to pull it over his head moments later to do his best cholo impersonation while singing.
The highlight of the show however was without a doubt their encore performance, which had them performing one of the single greatest songs of all time “Kangarooster Meadows” (youtube it) with members of both Rolo Tomassi, and iwrestledabearonce, and a good chunk of the front row of people invited on stage to finish off the show. The results were immediately spectacular, with the crowd turning into a massive bouncing crazed collection of dancing madness. During the chaotic mass dance recital, a crowd surfing member of the audience came careening down onto Lord Gold’s keyboard… rendering it inoperable for almost half of the song. All they did was laugh their asses off, and played through until someone managed to reconnect the victimized cable. It doesn’t get much better, or more Rock and Roll than that I suppose.
Before the show started, I had a chance to talk to lead singer Nathan Winneke for a few minutes. When I asked if he would mind me reviewing the show, he said something that I’ve been thinking about since. Rather than try to quote a casual conversation that wasn’t intended to turn into an interview I’ll attempt to relate what he said as I remember, and reap the consequences of getting pummeled by the band later in the off chance I got a bit of it wrong. But Nathan said, that he wasn’t terribly fond of reviews in general. That when someone would write a review that wasn’t particularly good it would bug him a little, but at the same time, whenever he read a particularly good review of something they did, it would bother him just as much if only because he would feel like it was undeserved praise.
I thought about that as I watched the guys interacting with everyone from the audience members, to the members of the supporting bands. There is truly a sense of legitimacy to the group, the sense that if only 15 people had shown up, that they would have played just as hard… That type of ethic is damn near impossible to come by anymore, and their live show is amazing for it, as much as it may bother Nathan to know so.