Some long time ago, I found a band that I loved called the Sleepy Horses. They let me follow them around, played to me at the Caledonia, signed a promo copy of “Golden Light” that I now keep on the stereo, and then left. The band underwent a lot of changes. Band members came and went, projects were started, relationships changed, and it had been a long time since I’d seen any of the band.
Then one day Nic and I found each other on Facebook. He’s out in the country now but maybe one day the Horses will play again or release some new material. It’s on a semi-hiatus for now. But that’s fine by me. Why? I just had the chance to fall back into the music of the Sleepy Horses and it brought back memories and feelings of a vastly different time, even though it was only about two years ago. I pressed play on my cd player and closed my eyes.
It was a cold night at the Caledonia. I stood under the heater as best as I could, back pressed against the cold wall, hands rubbing together in a feeble attempt to create warmth. I could see my breath and my head itched under my hat. My WUOG hoodie, newly purchased at that point, was thicker but still was not enough to provide any sort of shield against the cool air. The Caledonia was dim, as usual, lit only by the band display by the doorman, the lights of Farm above, and the string of little bulbs around the Horses’ merch.
The Horses were theatrical from the beginning, carrying a fog machine, lights, and a lot of pedals with them wherever they roamed. As hypnotic as the sounds were, the one thing that always brought me back to attention was that little sign on the drums: Believe.
It’s one of those hokey little things, almost kitsch, like the little figures that you see in some old lady’s living room that read “Faith. Hope. Love.” But there’s a power behind those words. We’ve diluted them into the wallpaper of our lives, much like music itself, stripping them of power and not noticing them. Just figures on a wall. On a drumkit. Random graphics that are meant to take up space on a wall.
Believe. “Believe in what?” I wonder. The epic sounds of “Lights” are pounding down the walls, echoing into and out of the room. It’s a pounding rhythm, driving you towards something, guitar chiming and swirling. The light shines all around, just like in the song. “When I Go” nearly brings me to tears. I don’t belong… But you know it’s hard to leave you when I go, don’t you know it’s hard to leave you when I go…It doesn’t matter that I’m the only other one there for this show. I would’ve felt like I was alone anyway. My eyes are closed, taking in every single note. Heart beats are drum beats. The lights are just distant memories.
It’s an incredible thing to experience, giving yourself to a song. There’s nothing that matters in that moment. Not jobs, not worries, nothing. You’re just letting go of everything and believing. Because sometimes, despite all that you’ve done, all you have, and all that you know, all you can do is believe.