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Concert Review: HORSE the Band at Webster Hall's Marlin Room

HORSE the Band returns to NYC.
HORSE the Band

Whether you like them for their off-kiltered take on experimental metal or admire them for their out of control tour routings, California group HORSE the Band have been one of underground music's most down to earth acts. Their 2004 and 2008 World Tours have mustered respect from even the most jaded music lover and snarky blogger. It's not every day when you see five guys perform 85 shows in seven countries over the span of 90 days.

After their 2010 touring in support of their last release Desperate Living, the band took a much deserved break from tour life, but they still managed to play a random show every now and then. They got back into the adventurous road trips with their 2013 European summer trek. Many folks in the U.S. were hoping for the band to bring some of their Nintendocore magic to their town. A month ago, they did...sort of. The band surprisingly announced an East Coast tour, and fans lucky enough to be within driving distance from a venue in the Northeast couldn't wait to see them one more time. One particular show had to be moved to a bigger venue due to overwhelming ticket sales. This past Saturday, the line outside of Webster Hall was filled with fans from the NYC/New Jersey area, including a 60 year old couple that were curious to see what the kids were into these days.

The ever-growing audience couldn't wait to bask in the presence of one of their favorite bands, with chants of "Horse the Band" and "Cut" growing louder and louder by the second. Opening with the instrumental track "Heroes Die" from their 2005 release The Mechanical Hand, the band could feel the energy from the room growing at a rapid pace.

When drummer Daniel Pouliot led the gang through the intro of "Birdo", the already amped audience nearly destroyed the stage with a blistering amount of stagediving. The chaos which occurred over the next hour would've been enough for longtime wrestling commentator Jim Ross to bark out many of his legendary lines, but the WWE Hall of Famer would've needed to take several breathers because of the continuous mayhem erupting at every corner. Ed Edge, HORSE the Band's triangle player, played the role of cheerleader that night, banging on his triangle and wearing random hats from audience members.

The following songs "A Million Exploding Suns" and "Manateen" kept the already relentless crowd on their toes. At times, the crowd was a little too chaotic. "You play too rough. I'm a sensitive boy," joked Nathan after fans unintentionally struck the man while trying to land on stage. Security had to be brought in to diminish the level of insanity for a bit. Some folks still managed to make their way to the stage only to be tossed out by security. Nathan jokingly compared security to the Wallmasters from the Legend of Zelda series.

DJ/producer Diplo performed at Webster Hall later that evening, and many of his fans inadvertently stepped into the HORSE the Band gig. Some were astonished by the calamity taking place, while others were surprised to see one of their favorite bands in action again.

While it would've been apropos to perform "New York City" that night, the band delivered the Lonesome Dove inspired track "Murder", which was the only track from the 2007 album A Natural Death played. For the encore, the band dove right into "Horse the Song", with its chorus "1-2-3, H the B" echoing around the 500 capacity room. To end things on a high note, HORSE the Band launched into "Cutsman", their track about Cut Man from the Mega Man series. The sheer intensity of the performance caused Nathan to fall into the crowd without a microphone in hand, but at that moment, the man didn't need it one bit.

As the crowd sang "Cut cut cut cut" in unison, one thing was certain: the magic that is HORSE the Band hasn't died since their last East Coast trek four years ago. It only got stronger like Super Mario after a mushroom.

The band are currently on tour until August 17th. All upcoming tour dates can be found here.