A stage filled with plaid, strings and bows, catapulted by intricate arrangements and stop-time lyrics, made Saturday's Kilby Court Horse Feathers performance one of the (if not the) best shows this year.---
The band's musical sensibilities were exceptional and the sound, more than other shows at Kilby, was precise—however, they could have easily performed unplugged and sounded impeccable—the elongated notes and strums bouncing off garage-like walls, reverberating with a folksy echo. The band, in years past mainly consisting of Ringle and Peter Broderick (of Norfolk & Western) has been releasing albums since 2006, but just expanded to a foursome in the past two. Broderick is out, living in Europe, and in his steed sits Nathan Crocket on violin, Catherine Odell on viola and the aforementioned Cooper.
Since, they've been touring like crazy, honing their live performance (they don't use a setlist it's so tight). It shows, for their music live is even more captivating than their albums, including their latest Thistled Spring (2010, Kill Rock Stars)—that's not to say I haven't been listening to it consistently for several weeks. It's that, over house speakers, it makes great background music, but in concert it captures the listener, rapping them in a Porlandia musical fog like a warm blanket on a rainy day.
One of the great virtues of Kilby Court's great virtues is that bands are essentially forced to mingle: there's no hiding in the green room because it's right off the courtyard and the loading zone is next to the front entrance. So, the Horse Feathers troupe accepted their due compliments from a happy audience and chatted about touring, songs, etc. for awhile afterwards, demonstrating that their humility and congeniality extends beyond their music.