Life is a never-ending exploration. At least it should be… could be. This is just one of the themes, the take-aways from Wednesday night.
Finding joy and happiness is another. So is the power of music. Regular readers will know this is one of the themes I embrace and love writing about.
On this particular evening, I found myself in a church… a magnificent church and one I had never been in before… The Cathedral Sanctuary At Immanuel Presbyterian. Okay, so there are not many reasons I need to be in a church, but the fact that this wonderful structure exists and I did not even know about it, shows how much of LA I have yet to explore and discover.
This was also a theme of Benmont Tench, when I saw him at the Grammy Museum on Thursday… discovering the cool and unknown spots of Los Angeles. He even has a fantastic new song about it on his first and brand new solo record…
The night started off in one direction… and not a good one. We missed the opening song and walked in, only to find that the GA balcony was pretty packed. In fact, the only empty seats were ones behind the huge columns… as in full, obstructed view… or all the way to the side. If we had known it was a GA show we would have arrive earlier, of course. We stood for a while… got hassled by security… and finally walked downstairs and found two seats in the lower level, all the way to the back. Though we stood there was well, our view was perfect. It seemed like the lower level was also GA… and I joked that it would be hard to number the pews.
The tensions and frustration began to melt away, as we let ourselves drift into the music… and what music it was, filling the sanctuary with beautiful melodies and stunning harmonies. Two guitars, skillfully picked… a bass… a piano, sometimes a mandolin… sometimes some drums… but always Band Of Horses.
I still find it odd… and frustrating that so many people do not know this band. Perhaps their Valentine’s Day performance on Ellen will open some ears and eyes. This is a band who truly needs to be heard… deserves to be heard. Their amazing music is only part of it. I can now say that they are some of the kindest, nicest, most genuine people I have EVER met.
The show was amazing. The band puts every ounce of their soul into each and every song, and the true love they have for one another flows across the stage and into the audience. You are literally enveloped in it.
So much so, that I can say this was also one of the most respectful, well-behaved audiences I have ever been a part of! Cheers for that, as it also makes such a difference. People were quiet during the songs, there to listen to the music… Yes, you would think if you paid good money for a show you would actually listen to the songs, but you would be surprised at the number of idiots who feel they need to talk or even shout above the concert. Was it a church that brought out such good behavior, perhaps… and if it was I will be going to church more often. Sorry, Rabbi.
I saw very few people holding their phones up… a huge plus and something I do not get or enjoy… and neither do the bands, FYI… They want to look out and see our faces… connect with us… They do not want to see a bunch of phones. Unless, of course, they want the lights to simulate the lighters of days of old. And yes, I do have and joyfully use the Zippo App.
Why would you want to watch an entire show on your little 3-inch screen??? Take a few photos… maybe video a minute of your favorite song and boom… PUT DOWN THE PHONE! Enjoy the show as it is happening and unfolding.
As I sat and listened to the music, stared at the stained glass windows, and sung along, I was filled with an amazing peace. I loved every minute of this show. I loved the young couple in front of me and their intense, passionate make out session. Damn! Oops… In a church. Me for the damn and them… I loved watching another young couple walk to the front of the stage and slow dance to… darn… blanking on the song… They were romantic and sincere and no one told them to move or sit down, even though you KNOW someone was being blocked… That is class all the way around.
That is a moment they will cherish and hold on to for the rest of their lives. A couple of girls did the same thing later, but their moves seemed a bit drunk and not as honest.
The band is out on the road supporting their brilliant new live album Acoustic At The Ryman. It is a gorgeous record that showcases this band’s immense talents. I cannot stop listening.
I will buy whatever this band puts out… and support whatever they do. The music, of course, is the major reason, but it is also because they are so sincerely appreciative. During the encore they performed “Heartbreak On The 101” with The Section Quartet. Magnificent? Lush? Gorgeous? Uh… yeah! Breathtaking, actually. This is another group you need to be aware of.
I do need to give a special shout out to Eric from that group, as he got his friend JS and thus me to meet the guys. And THAT is where a lifetime fan was made. This band, to a person, is the nicest group of folks I have EVER met. Seriously.
First it was Ryan Monroe, who plays keys and mandolin. One of the highlights of the night was watching him ascend to the pipe organ and play from above the stage. Words cannot describe the power of that moment. He was so happy that we loved the show as much as we did and in a split second it felt like we had known him all our lives.
The we met Tyler Ramsey. Yes, at that moment I wished I was taller. His solo records are just as amazing and the fingerpicking he does on the guitar… wow. He spent so much time chatting with us that I almost felt guilty we were holding him up. But this is the kind of the band this is… and the kind of people they are. Amazing!
We said a quick hello to drummer Creighton Barrett… who strangely we did not take a picture with. Not sure why, so next time this is a must! We need to complete the gallery.
Then we strolled outside by the bus, and got to chat with bassist Bill Reynolds. Okay, can these guys be any nicer??? Seriously, I was blown away by the time and true consideration they gave to each and everyone who was there to meet them. They really made us feel like lifelong friends.
Finally we met the man… Ben Bridwell is the founder of the group and lead singer and when you watch him perform you see someone giving every ounce of his soul to every song. Soft spoken, but just as effusive about the evening and so dang happy that we enjoyed the show as much as we did. THIS is what it is about. Any bands who do not get along like this… who do not play with such bliss and joy… go get therapy!!!
As the crew packed up the equipment, I wanted so badly to climb on the bus and keep this magical evening going. I did not… no one asked… but I will follow this band to the ends of the earth, because of the music and because of true gentlemen they are. Rock n’ Roll, baby… Rock n’ Roll.