Band of Horses and guest performers span across the stage illuminated by the blue lighting, as photographed on Feb. 14, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Nick Luo)
Band of Horses and guest performers span across the stage illuminated by the blue lighting, as photographed on Feb. 14, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Nick Luo)
Nick Luo

IN PHOTOS: A perfect Valentine’s Day evening with the Band of Horses

Band of Horses helped me appreciate the two sides of music with their acoustic and electric set

As soon as I arrived at the upper balcony of the Ryman Auditorium, I felt at peace; the fog mixed with the dark blue lighting throughout the venue made me feel relaxed. After being calmed by the peaceful atmosphere, I remember thinking how nice it would be if the main performer, Band of Horses – an Indie band hailing from Seattle, Washington – played a calming acoustic set succeeding that moment to match the calming atmosphere. I guess I forgot that an acoustic set is actually how Band of Horses kicks off their concert, so I was genuinely excited when solely acoustic instruments were placed on stage.

“Well, well, well… we meet again! What’s up, y’all?” lead singer Ben Bridwell said.

After a round of applause and several stand-alone cheers from the crowd, Bridwell launched into the first song of the acoustic setlist: “St. Augustine.” He sang this song alone, with his voice and the strums of his guitar echoing throughout the venue. I liked this song; it emitted a relaxing vibe that was undoubtedly what I was craving after immersing myself in the relaxing atmosphere of the Ryman Auditorium. While the crowd erupted into applause after the last strum, Bridwell invited guitarist Ryan Monroe and bass guitarist Brett Nash onto the stage.

Together the trio sang “Part One.” They were grouped in a huddle-like formation and seemed to be singing to one another. In terms of music, I loved how the sounds coming from each guitar intermixed creating beautiful harmonies without overshadowing the vocals. This performance highlighted the simplicity of acoustic music, challenging my taste for recorded music with electric instruments.

After the song ended, Bridwell invited the rest of the band, drummer Creighton Barrett and guitarist Tyler Ramsay, to come on stage, as well as a string quartet. As soon as I saw the string quartet, I knew the next few songs in the acoustic set were about to sound incredible, and I was not wrong. The string instruments enhanced the acoustic vibe to a new level and added so much musical depth to each song. I am not exaggerating when I say this — I felt like I was in musical paradise.

Although I would have loved for more acoustic songs, I was ready to bring out the rock n’ roll energy. Band of Horses began their electric setlist with a song called “Monsters” from their 2006 debut album “Everything All the Time.” This song was my favorite track that they played during their electric set. I loved the catchy guitar riff, which is still stuck in my head, and the groovy drum beat that had my feet tapping to each hi-hat click, bass drum thump and snare drum hit.

After “Monsters,” the band wasted no time transitioning into their second song of the electric set, which was ironically called “The First Song.” This song had a more hard-rock feel to it, reflected by the shouting-singing style and the loud cymbal-driven drum groove. The entire time, the band was jumping up and down on stage and headbanging; they were surely delivering the rock n’ roll energy.

While the rest of the electric set was truly ‘electric,’ what stood out to me from this concert was the wholesomeness and genuine kindness of the band, reflected by the words that Bridwell said throughout the show. In addition to thanking the crowd for supporting the band by coming to the show, he showed his gratitude by thanking the staff working at the Ryman Auditorium for their kindness and help during the concert. 

“Can we please give it up for the Ryman staff?” Bridwell shouted. 

Even though I already liked Band of Horses for their music, the acts of appreciation from the band touched my heart and increased my love for them. That being said, if you are looking for a fun and wholesome evening, do yourself a favor and check to see if Band of Horses is performing near you – you will thank me later.


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About the Contributor
Nick Luo
Nick Luo, Staff Photographer
Nick Luo (‘27) is from Toronto, Canada, and studies economics in the College of Arts and Science. When not taking pictures at concerts or writing photo stories for The Hustler, you can find him playing basketball, filming YouTube videos or sunset chasing. You can reach him at [email protected].
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