Concert Review: The Band of Heathens Bring a Rock Jam To City Winery

From Texas To New York, The Band of Heathens brought a sense of Southern mischief and glee to City Winery. It is no secret that these days people are looking for music that puts a “fire in their belly”, and ignites their willingness to feel connected. The Band Of Heathens gave such a warmth  and hospitality in their January 23 performance that I thought they owned City Winery. Truly, it became their home for their set, and we, the audience, were the batch of friends that came over. 

The key point to The Band of Heathens successful live show is that they come off like a personal jamboree. Their aim to entertain the audience was blatant, and made viewers want to be entertained. It was like when someone gives you a gift, and, before you open it, you can feel they really thought about what to give you to make you happy. This is simple sentiment that makes people feel like they have been decorated with joy and eager to show it. As the band sang and played their instruments, I am sure that everyone wished they could be on stage with them because it was not just their talent that emanated but also their brotherhood. When you see a group of people deeply connected to their art and each other, you cannot help but wish you had that and wonder how you do. The ease from which they played their music and their jokes to the crowd took away the sense that this was a concert we were witnessing. Instead, the home-like, intimate vibe brought an energy of openness that feels like it has been missing in our nation these past few days. As people laughed, clapped, tapped their toes, and completely dreamed again, I was elated to be apart of their concert experience, and felt as privileged as the rest of the audience to have had a temporary, cozy nook for a night where the world felt fun.

Playing off their new album, Duende, their concert had a different sense/ approach to life when compared to each other. Duende feels like the “long, winding road” you take to Heaven and back. On record, the instrumentals and voices of Ed Jurdi and Gordi Quist have a “folkish” sensibility that comes off like two troubadour brothers going around America exchanging wise songs for love letters.
Each track never loses respect for the the guitar as the soul’s jukebox, which, when seen live, is epic. The Band of Heathens see the guitar’s chords as emotional ones that light when arranged according to genuineness. For them, feelings are truths, and their guitars are beacons for them on record, but especially live when they can come alive. It is in this difference that The Band of Heathens live show distinguishes the band’s rocker vibe. There was a grandness to their jamming that made it feel like  we were watching a classic rock band like Led Zeppelin or Lyrnrd Skynrd play. While you might not equate their smoother, pensive arrangements to these hard heavy bands, The Band of Heathens share with them their legendary capacity to make their audiences feel important.

A good musician can play music well, but a great artist can play it importantly. I could not help but feel like I was watching the biggest band on earth at MSG, when in fact we were a cool crowd at City Winery. The Band of Heathens play their music like it means the world to them and should mean the same for viewers, which, by the end of the night, it did. Hearing the harmonies and lovely voice of Jurdi harmonizing with the rest of the band felt like they had offered a sweet tea of thoughts to the audience. While Duende is an album to think one life, The Band Of Heathens concert is one to celebrate it. For More Information On The Band Of Heathens Click Here.