Band of Horses and Howlin Rain, Marquee Theatre, 10/26/12
Band of Horses and Howlin Rain @ Marquee Theatre|10/26/12
By Mike Cryer
Please indulge a quick note about the Marquee before we talk music. All is right in the universe if Ricky Dimmick is tending bar there. If you haven't met Rick, she's the one who makes you feel grateful you're being served. Her style is so ambivalent her tips accrue on the bar-top until you force her to pocket her cash for fear the dough will get swiped. On occasion, Rick's customers have improvised collections at closing-time in the guise of philanthropy just to make her an extra buck. Her hustle is so persuasive it approaches genius. She's the coolest.
Now the music...
The Bay Area's Howlin' Rain opened last night, and their brand of guitar rock had some folks confused. Are they a parody of '70s and '80s arena rock? The answer is, no.
Melissa Fossum Howlin Rain at Marquee Theatre.
Rain isn't ironic but they do suffer from imitative fallacy -- if a band recreates a sound that was originally cheese-ball that band might suffer the same fate. You couldn't help but think while they rocked out, "If Trey Parker and Matt Stone had hired a band to compose the song 'Montage' for the first South Park movie, that band would've been Howlin' Rain." Something like synchronized head banging almost happened . . .
When Band of Horses took the stage, the room changed. And it changed dramatically.
There's no mistake about it. BoH is a great live band. Production on some of the group's albums has inadvertently cleaned up rough edges for the sake of "atmosphere" -- but the rough edges are what made last night's show incredible. Ben Birdwell isn't Jimmy James or vice versa. Birdwell's uninhibited charisma and the rest of the Horses' artistry is something to celebrate.