Friday, April 18, 2008

Iron and Wine Review

I just saw Iron and Wine in concert tonight! Iron and Wine being just one guy, Sam Beam. He is fabulously bearded, as seen on the right. But he is also pretty hipster, as shown by the audience demographic. This time he was joined by a full band- at one point there were ten musicians on stage! It was a good show, but I wasn't overwhelmed. It was certainly the quietest rock concert I'd ever seen (no complaints there). Here's my review, in bulletpoint pros and cons.
1. These people seem talented. Why aren't they taking advantage of melodic solo opportunities rather than doing the jam-band thing? Feels like an updated Phish concert with better chord structures.
2. Why is the harmony singer/violinist frozen in place? Why is she not smiling?
3. There are two percussionists, and one has approximately 50 handheld percussion items. Why are you stealing the show?
4. Guitarist who's playing the xylophone never plays a single tremolo. I now know too much about music that I can't just enjoy it, I have to expect a tremolo. But come on, this is what the xylophone lives for.
5. I am so tired of people taking horribly blurry pictures on their cameras and phones. Serious, guys, just steal a picture from the internet and print it out as if you snapped the greatest shot ever. You'll be better off, and I won't be distracted by your gadgets and their screens all lit up.
6. No fun stories for the audience?

Pro and Con: Percussionist Number Two: How can you possibly have at your little seat all these things: two pitched wooden boxes, a set of handbells, maracas, guiro, sleigh bells, recorder, chinese singing bowls, cabaza, four different shakers, chimes, bag of bells, steel drum, snare drum, bodhran, congas, bongos, tamborine, crash cymbal, cowbell, four almglocken, bowl attached to a stick, and three kinds of claves, and yet play just the right timbre at just the right moment to keep the music going?? It was just what I needed, right there. And you didn't overdo it. And yet sometimes I can't hear you at all, your microphone is too quiet, and all your efforts are completely lost. Why.

But then the pros, which altogether made the show pretty enjoyable.
1. Sam is really cute, and plays like he loves every minute, every word. His voice is lovely.
2. Piano/rhodes player provides good support.
3. Slide guitar, bassist, and guitarist play well.
4. Guitarist doubles on xylophone and accordion!
5. Great new arrangements of solo guitar music for large ensemble.
6. I'm really glad to see so many instruments on stage. Violin is in tune! Also, banjo and upright bass, and several guitar types. I think playing with combinations of instrument timbres is the future of pop music. It's already here, but there's more to say. I feel inspired!
7. Guy ahead of us is a kick-ass homosexual who writes a text message clearly readable from seats behind him, stating "I don't want to date him, I just want to f*** him".


keith said...

damn: i missed this show.

double-damn: i missed seeing it with you.

but your review makes it seem like i was there! also there is an NPR archive of an earlier show from this tour, so i kinda know what you mean about the band! yay.

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