Iron & WineApril 22, 2008
Last night I got to see one of the best large venue concerts (it should be noted that the number of such concerts attended by me can be counted on one hand) I have ever seen. The brain child of the lovely Kate and Anali, who wanted to find a fun concert to attend in April (their shared birthday month), we started the evening off with a pasta supper at the Treehouse before running (literally) to try to catch the train. After catching the last train of the evening we got to the theater and found pretty nice seats in the balcony. While we could have been closer, I was not willing to stand for 3 hours through another concert.
At around 7:30pm, the opening act, Califone started up. A folky electronic jam band of sorts, they didn’t really catch my attention mainly because they had neither pronounced melodies or understandable words (listen to me and my geezer talk). But they did make some interesting music and were fun to watch. One of the percussionists kept playing all these random little instruments and noise makers, while simultaneously rocking out, he was definitely my favorite to watch. Finally at around 8:30ish, Sam and Sarah Beam (Kate and I were convinced that they were husband and wife, but turns out they are siblings) took the stage and started out with two very simple songs, Sam on guitar and lead vocals with Sarah adding a little fiddle and back-up vocals. It was beautiful! When it comes down to describing my favorite music, acoustic guitar with simple melodies, good harmonies and a little fiddle really captures much of what I tend to like.
Then more musicians came out and at various points there were 9 people playing on the stage. Now here is where my lack of musical knowledge really comes out because I have to say I don’t entirely get why one needs what appears to be 4 different bass/guitar parts going. My favorite instrument was one that I don’t know the name of. Here is a great picture taken of it (from an earlier concert) by The Egg, Man
I really loved the sound this instrument created, it reminded me a little bit of the soundtrack to Brokeback Mountain. While I have been unsuccessful finding a set list for the concert, I did (I think) track down the name of the opening song, Trapeze Singer. You can find the song on iTunes or by purchasing the soundtrack to In Good Company or a European import single disc entitled Such Great Heights. Another highlight was a simply breathtaking version of Upward over the Mountain. This song was one of my first Iron & Wine favorites because my younger brother learned it and I have heard him sing it multiple times. However this version was different than the one on the album, because it had multiple instruments backing Sam Beam up and while the basic melody remained the same the additional harmonies made for an amazing song. All in all it was an amazing concert, even if it did keep me out till 11:30pm at night (way past this young geezer’s bedtime).
If you haven’t listened to Iron & Wine much yet, I highly suggest it. Or better yet go see them live, especially this current concert leg if possible.