Iron & Wine – Live show


Once again this post finds me uninspired in the album review department. But have no fear… I’ve been to some killer shows (killer as in awesome, not The Killers unfortunately) this week so I’m not completely without something to say in the musical arena.

As the title probably gave away, I saw Iron & Wine play last night to a sold out house of ecstatic fans. My friends and I had a prime spot on the upper level with a place to sit, a dead center view of the stage (and a screen if needed) and far away from the intense body heat of the floor level crowd.

But since I’ve met several people recently who aren’t all too familiar with him then here’s a quickie for those who aren’t privy to the musical genius behind Iron & Wine. Iron & Wine is the moniker for Sam Beam, the Dripping Springs, TX based folk poetry and melody genius. His earlier material was very mellow and acoustic with breathy vocals and lyrics that typically describe life in the deep south. But don’t be fooled by the plentiful religious references, Sammy boy is very openly Atheist and only finds the bible to be “America’s mythology”. As I once read in an article he said that he loves the bible because instead of spending half a song describing the relationship between two brothers he can simply say “Cane and Abel” and everyone knows what he’s talking about. This is why you’ll find references to Jezebel, Judas, and the pearly gates melodically mentioned with the occasional F bomb thrown into the mix.

He had a good mixture of old and new even though there were a few songs I was hoping to hear such as Lion’s Mane, Jezebel, and Sodom, South Georgia that were left out of the set. He probably plays them all the time and thus left them out this go round but as a first timer I was hoping to hear them.

Let me just say that I don’t care if the man were to look like Quasimodo, guitar playing like that is sexy. Simple fact. He played and sang beautifully for over two hours but the set had so many different dynamics that it didn’t seem that long at all. He started with an acapella rendition of Flightless Bird, American Mouth followed by some of his older and more acoustic tracks. He then had his hired musicians, plus some members of the opening band “No Mo”, join him and he played both older and newer songs but he was intentional about not simply handing the fans anything they could get by simply playing the albums at home. He played songs such as Sea & The Rythm and Teeth In The Grass but gave them completely different vibes and I would say he nearly made completely new songs of them… nearly. And he also played several new tracks from his upcoming album Kiss Each Other Clean due out January 25, 2011 which had some interesting do-wop backing vocals in it and lyrics that stay very true to Beam’s traditional style. Then there were also tracks that were bluesy, James Taylor-ish, and surprisingly high energy.  So it looks like we can expect more music in the same vein as Shepherd’s Dog for his next album!

He only did one song for the encore then wished every one a good night without even a hint of coming back for more. Some fans looked like they were debating on cheering for a second encore but it couldn’t be mistaken that the end was the end… no ifs, ands, or buts about it.

Over all he had great stage presence without being arrogant, and just the right amount of humor and banter with the few outspoken fans there and seemed genuinely grateful to everyone who came out. I’m sincerely hoping he makes it out to Houston again soon!

For your listening pleasure… I give you: Trapeze Swinger

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