Review and Picture Credit : Karan Dutta
Michael Hobby, (lead vocals),
Bill Satcher, (lead guitar),
Zach Brown, (guitar and vocals)
Graham Deloach, (bass and vocals)
Tuesday, 15th March saw Music City legends A Thousand Horses deliver London a shot in the arm of some class southern rock. Making their UK tour debut at the C2C Festival held at the O2 Arena, the Nashville quartet bid farewell to their UK fans with a powerful, close quarter set at Camden’s famous Barfly venue.
Recently nominated for the CMT Music Awards in 2015, the band took to the stage with a casual air of comfort as if back home in a small town country bar with a crowd full of eager fans awaiting that first twang of the distorted Fender to ring out across the room. And Kapow ! Title track from their 2015 album, Sourthernality echoes through the crowd, heads bobbing feet stomping almost instantly as the slide of Satcher’s guitar sets the tone for the evening. Cheers and whistles ring out as the band kicks into full swing with Michael’s signature southern accent adding a country touch to their otherwise edgy southern rock sound. After the energetic start including the title track and Landslide, Michael and Satcher slowed the evening down with an acoustic led Heaven is Close saturated with slide guitar tones reminiscent of Derek Trucks’ Allman Brothers days.
Up for Anything, a track from their upcoming album, provided a great insight into the direction of their sound and was well appreciated by the crowd. Touring as an eight-strong band with two backing vocals, a accompanying violinist / pianist and a drummer allowed for some incredible three part harmonies and fiddle solos. As tribute to some of their influences, the band also laid out their rendition of The Stones’ ‘Dead Flowers’ flawlessly executed with a discernible element of their sound.
Smoke, their hit single and last song to be written for the album, was always going to be saved for the tail end of the set and did it get a reception. A bar room performance venue, full of genuine fans singing along with every line of the song made for an intimate interaction between the band and the crowd, with arms reaching for the stage and the band swinging in hypnotic motion just out of reach. They literally had the crowd eating out of their palms!
For a southern rock band visiting the UK for the first time the crowd at Barfly was sizeable and clearly full of long standing fans. There was also a healthy mix of local Londoners in attendance showing that the band’s repertoire has made it across the Atlantic and they’re breaking into new markets with much success.
They finished the main set with First Time, the opening track from their 2015 release, a fast paced track with solid harmonies, ringing keys and a biting guitar solo which saw Satcher stretching the strings to their very limits. Premature shouts for an encore while the band was still on stage, had the room burst into laughter as the band set up for their last couple of tracks. Ending the night with a free jam version of The Black Crowes’ ‘Hard to Handle’ capped off a truly captivating and tight set delivered by some quality musicians with not only the skill but also the swagger to be playing their tunes all over the world.
As the lights dim and the band disappear into the ‘cave’ excuse for a green room by the stage, I sneak a moment to speak with the drummer and grab a copy of the setlist. “Back to the States to pick up on the tour in Vegas” he says to me and just like that, he disappears into the ‘cave’ sporting that casual stride with which the band kicked the night off.
Great night with a truly gifted set of musicians. Would definitely recommend catching them on their upcoming US tour.