Friday, May 15, 2009

Iron & Wine at The Troubadour (5/9/2009)

I wouldn't have called myself a fan of Iron & Wine before their show last Saturday, but I'd say I'm a fan now. I don't think I've ever listened to any of his songs by myself. But I did enjoy his set at the Greek Theatre last summer opening for The Swell Season (which was one of the more annoying sets I've ever seen). And Rona is a fan so when I got the Troubadour's weekly email that said Iron & Wine was playing I knew I had to go.

It was nice being at the Troubadour again, especially since it's just a 15 minute walk from my apartment. There's still something about the layout that makes me like Spaceland a lot more, though.

I got inside for the last two songs of the opener, The Yogoman Burning Band. I hadn't seen a ska/reggae/soul band in a while, and I wish I arrived earlier.

Iron & Wine took the stage about 15 minutes ahead of schedule, which was definitely a good start. I was very impressed by the crowd -- they were almost completely silent during his set; no people talking at the bar, etc. That definitely improved everyone's experience. I tend to like the one-guy-on-a-stage-with-a-guitar if he's engaging, because you can fix your gaze on one object and focus on the music. And Beam is engaging and has a great sense of humor. He was cracking jokes and pointing out his mistakes as he played. Him plus the quiet crowd created a particularly intimate setting -- significantly intimate that when he sang the line "fuck the man" from "Trapeze Singer" I yelled out "woooo" and he cracked a smile. That was cool.

[begin mini-rant] About 35 minutes into the set, though, my focus and concentration was broken by an unknown tall man who will be referred to as "The Swayer." The Swayer was about 3 people in front of me, and began the show to my left, out of my line of sight. But as Iron & Wine's set continued, he kept moving more and more towards the right, for reasons I don't understand. And he swayed, and swayed noticably. I looked around and didn't see anyone swaying as much as this guy (is there really much to sway to for an acoustic guitar show?). The combination of moving to his right, being over 6 feet tall, and swaying eventually meant that he was in my line of sight, but not consistently enough that I could move myself and solve the problem -- the swaying meant that sometimes I could see, and sometimes I couldn't. And being tall myself I didn't want to annoy the people behind me by dramatically changing my position. I wanted to tell The Swayer to stop but the crowd was so silent that I didn't want to make a scene. [end mini-rant]

Despite The Swayer I really enjoyed Iron & Wine's set. I'm not sure if I'll ever see him again since he typically plays larger venues, but I'd definitely consider it.

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