Saturday, June 4, 2011

#11: Iron & Wine

What a fun birthday present! YB and I gave each other tickets to the Iron & Wine concert in Salt Lake for our birthdays, which are within the same 4 weeks. It was a pleasant evening of soulful, live indie music, one where we strategically found a spot to stand on the steps that gave us perfect viewing of the bands on stage. It wasn't super close, but in the small venue that it was, anywhere was close enough (unless you happened to be all the way back by the bathrooms). For once in my life I was able to overcome my shortness and NOT have heads in the way! Amazing!

Iron & Wine is well-known as an indie-alternative band. Their opening act was The Head and the Heart, from the same genre, but not as well-known. In a few years, though, that might change - their music rocks and the audience loved them. Comprised of 4 guys and a girl who all switched off instruments and sang as well, The Head and the Heart created dynamic songs using all sorts of sounds with varying tempos and rhythms. Their fine-tuned voices all meshed very well and allowed them to portray a wide array of emotions, from melancholy to excited. I really felt a sense of teamwork from the band; not one person was made to stand out more than anyone else. What made the performance even more enjoyable was that they simply looked like they were just having a blast, as if it didn't matter if the venue was full of people or if their audience was only 10. The impression I got was they enjoy what they do because they do it for themselves, not to please other people, but having that appreciation was simply a perk. 

Then Iron & Wine came on and delivered an equally entertaining show, with major rearrangements and switch ups of the songs people know from their albums. I only knew a couple of their songs to begin with, but it didn't matter because I was just enjoying the well-done live music. Sam Beam is the main man in charge here, with the softest voice to accompany his soothing acoustics. I'm thinking maybe his power comes from his righteous beard, which makes him look like Abraham Lincoln and Zach Galifianakis combined, but the band wouldn't be complete without his large company of wingmen. I counted 5 guys in a semicircle behind Sam, 3 on the side playing woodwinds and brass instruments, and 2 backup singers. That's a lot of people. Like The Head and the Heart, they all traded around instruments frequently to create a medley of sounds that could either put you to sleep like a lullaby, or get you up and dancing to their groovy rhythms. I didn't know Iron & Wine could be so funky - I wasn't expecting to be foot tapping or head-bobbing, but it happened. And I liked it.

Overall the night was a success. There weren't any sound problems, except for in the beginning when they were quickly fixed as per instruction from the band members. No fancy lights, projections, or even background posters were made to distract from the music. Some concerts in other genres are made to be half comedy shows with jokes thrown about here and there, but the talk at this concert was minimal and the pleasant sounds were abundant. 'Twas a true indie concert, and simultaneously a rad hipster convention, where the atmosphere was simply "chill" and the thing to look at when your eyes wandered was the whimsical fashions of the guys and girls who dared to be different. Except if everyone's a hipster, then no one's a hipster,  right? I wonder how they felt when they looked around and saw people wearing outfits that were even cuter than theirs. Good thing all I cared about was being comfy, cause that I was. Anyway. Enough said. Picture time:

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